Dr. Sharachchandra (Sharad) Lele is an interdisciplinary environmental researcher, bridging the natural sciences, economics, and political science to understand the concepts of and pathways to environmentally sustainable and socially just development. He has worked on sustainable forest management and forest governance, forest hydrological services, land-use change mapping, watershed development, water governance, urban water management and pollution regulation.
Sharad got a B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering in IIT Bombay (1984) but then decided that environmental studies was more exciting and socially relevant. So he did an M.S. on the environmental impacts of large dams at IISc, Bangalore (1987) and then a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley (1993), focusing on forest use in the Western Ghats.
Since then, he has worked at Pacific Institute, Harvard University, and Institute for Social & Economic Change. He co-founded the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment & Development in 2001, and led it till 2009, when it merged with the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) (www.atree.res.in). He is now the Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Policy & Governance at ATREE.
Dr. Lele’s research has been published in a variety of interdisciplinary journals. Sharad has also co-authored a book on “Community-based Natural Resource Management in South Asia”, (Sage:2007), and edited “Democratising Forest Governance in India” (OUP: 2014) and “Rethinking Environmentalism: Linking Justice, Sustainability and Diversity” (MIT Press: 2018).
Sharad is also highly engaged in policy-related work, serving on the MoEF-MoTA Joint Committee on the Forest Rights Act in 2010, the Karnataka High Court’s Elephant Task Force in 2012, the Expert Committee on Bellandur Lake Rejuvenation in Bengaluru in 2018, and the MoEF’s Expert Appraisal Committee for Thermal Power Plants and Coal Mining from 2017.
Dr. Lele lives in India.