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Krishnan, Smitha

Scientist, Agrobiodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Smitha joined the Alliance of Bioversity International CIAT in Bangalore, India, in 2019 as an expert in Agrobiodiversity and Ecosystem services. Smitha’s research interests broadly include ecosystem services, pollination biology, plant-animal interactions, restoration, soil-plant relationships and sustainable livelihoods.

As a PhD student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH, Zurich) she undertook research on pollination services and coffee production in a forested landscape mosaic, based in the coffee agroforestry systems of Kodagu. She procured an additional grant to disseminate her results to the stakeholders. Following her PhD, she worked in the capacity of a project manager/ post-doctoral researcher with ETH Zurich, on Managing trade-offs in coffee agroforests.

Prior to joining Bioversity International Smitha worked for the Ashoka Trust for Ecology and Environment (ATREE), a non-governmental research institution based in Bangalore, India where her research focused on edible insect resources of the North Eastern States of India and their role in providing alternative ecosystem services. Additionally, she has an Honorary position at ATREE as a Program Advisor to their Community Environmental Resource Center (ATREE_CERC) in Alappuzha, India, which focuses on the sustainability of ecosystem services and rural livelihood in heavily utilized landscapes.

Since joining, Smitha conducted a review on current knowledge and gaps with regard to management practices that support pollination services within forests and surrounding landscapes with the Forest Genetic Resources and Restoration Team, for FAO Forestry. Currently, she is developing proposals focused on crop pollination services and restoration of agricultural landscapes. Meanwhile she is co-ordinating a study on Mapping Ecosystem Services for Human Well-being in India and will be leading the study pertaining to pollination services. She is also involved with the Asia Coffee Cacao Nexus of the Alliance.



Postdoctoral, Ecosystem Management Group, ETH Zurich

PhD, Ecology, Ecosystem Management Group, ETH Zurich

MS, Salim Ali School of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Pondicherry University, India

Publication Highlights:

Dainese, M., Martin, E. A., Aizen, M. A., Albrecht, M., Bartomeus, I., Bommarco, R., …. Krishnan,S. … Steffan-Dewenter, I. (2019). A global synthesis reveals biodiversity-mediated benefits for crop production. Science Advances, 5(10), eaax0121. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0121

Magrach, A., Champetier, A., Krishnan, S., Boreux, V., & Ghazoul, J. (2019). Uncertainties in the value and opportunity costs of pollination services. Journal of Applied Ecology, 56(7), 1549–1559. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.13399

Nesper, M., Kueffer, C., Krishnan, S., Kushalappa, C. G., & Ghazoul, J. (2018). Simplification of shade tree diversity reduces nutrient cycling resilience in coffee agroforestry. Journal of Applied Ecology, 0. doi: doi:10.1111/1365-2664.13176

Nesper, M., Kueffer, C., Krishnan, S., Kushalappa, C. G., & Ghazoul, J. (2017). Shade tree diversity enhances coffee production and quality in agroforestry systems in the Western Ghats. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 247, 172–181. doi: