Iffat Ara

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Iffat Ara

Adjunct Senior Researcher


03 6226 6255 (phone)

Dr Iffat Ara is a research fellow in the Horticulture Centre of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture. Iffat's current research focus is on the use of agricultural technology, and she has experience in food security and natural resource management research. She is currently exploring the drone remote sensing application for precision agriculture and natural resource management to support decision and sustainable adaptation of this application in farming systems, in Australian and developing world contexts.


Before joining the University of Tasmania, Iffat was an Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Environment, Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh. She has awarded Ph.D. in Science at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, Australia. Her PhD research focused on policy responses on regional variability of food security determinants in Bangladesh. She obtained her Bachelor (Honours) and Master’s degree in Geography and Environment at the Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh. She has more than ten years of research and teaching experiences at different universities in Bangladesh including the Stamford University of Bangladesh, the Jagannath University, and the Jahangirnagar University. She received research grants, awards, and fellowships from Government of Bangladesh, Commonwealth Government of Australia, Government of South Australia, CSIRO and SSSI. Iffat's academic interests encompass Geographic Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing, and Unmanned Aircraft System (UAV) applications in managing environment, agriculture and natural resources.

Career summary



Thesis title



Date of award


Spatial Analysis of Food Security in Bangladesh based on Climate Change, Management Practices, and Socio-economic Variables

of Adelaide



MSc (1st Class Hons, Position 1st)

Understanding the Monga (local term refers to regional low food security) in Northern Bangladesh




BSc (1st Class Hons, Position 1st)

Spatio-temporal Analysis on Agricultural Labor Force Structure in Bangladesh





Environmental Management with GIS




Licensed Remote Pilot

Remote Pilot Course (RePL)

Civil Aviation
Authority (CASA)



Languages (other than English)

Bangla, Hindi


Teaching expertise

Iffat’s teaching goal is to increase awareness about the needs of use of agricultural technology by considering the spatial sign and sustainability to support decision on environmental resource management. She is interested to teach subjects related to spatial information generation and management.

  • GIS for Agricultural Sciences
  • Remote Sensing
  • Sustainable Resource Management
  • Agricultural Landscape Systems
  • Agricultural Technology

View more on Dr Iffat Ara in WARP


Iffat specialise in GIS, Remote sensing, UAV remote sensing, Geo-statistics, Spatial simulation modelling, Spatial decision support, and Policy management. Her research focus on environmental phenomenon at spatial and temporal scales to provide solutions, which increase economic production in a given ecosystem.  As spatial heterogeneity of environmental conditions underpin all aspects of agricultural production, she contributes in organisational responsibility for enhancing spatial research capacity and leadership for TIA. She also provides technical support to staff and students in TIA.

  • Agricultural Spatial Analysis and Modelling (70104)
  • Natural Resource Management (050209)
  • Environment and resource economics (140205)
  • Land and Water management (9606)
  • Agricultural Land Management (070101)
  • Agricultural Hydrology (079901)
  • Sustainable Agricultural Development (070108)
  • Farming Systems Research (070107)
  • Agricultural Systems Analysis and Modelling (070105)
  • Land and Water Management of environments (960999)
  • Climate and Climate change (9603)
  • Natural Hazards (040604)
  • Ecosystem Assessment and Management (960506)
  • Applied statistics (10401)
  • Research, science  and technology policy (150511)
  • Horticultural Production (070699)

Research Themes

Iffat's scientific research aligns with the University's research themes of ‘Environment, Resources and Sustainability’; and ‘Data, Knowledge and Decisions’. Her research interests include understanding causes of spatial heterogeneity of important determinants in complex natural-human systems at varied spatial and temporal scales. Her evidence-based research contributes on decision-making process including policy management and local level practices to manage environment, agriculture, and natural resources. She enjoys collaborative, innovative, multi-disciplinary research focused on challenging policy management about food security and other global changes and their application to improve sustainable natural resource management and livelihoods of local people. Her current research is based within the Tasmanian Agriculture industry, and extends to food security research in Asia-pacific region. Other related research interests have included exploring agricultural technologies applications (i.e. Drone), the decision making of farmers adopting these technologies, sustainability of these technologies at local, Tasmanian and global context, particularly in developing countries.


  • Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Award (APSEA), SSSI, Australia and New Zealand
  • International Student Award (Academic Excellence), South Australia
  • Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Award, SSSI, South Australia
  • STI Policy Management Award, UNESCO (ISTIC), Malaysia
  • Australia-Netherlands Water Challenge Award, Netherlands
  • Climate-Smart Agriculture Award, CGIAR, France
  • Graduate Scholar Award, Food Studies Conference, USA
  • International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) and Australian Postgraduate Award (APA), Australia
  • Prime Minister’s Gold Medal 2007, Government of Bangladesh

Current projects

‘Application of UAV to advance agricultural production systems in Tasmania’ - Iffat is currently undertaking research on UAV application; investigating the process of use of UAV remote sensing to advance agricultural production systems in Tasmania, effective adoption of UAV technology to achieve on-farm change.

‘Spatial assessment on horticulture production systems in Tasmanian by adopting Agtech’- Iffat has contributed in analysing data to understand the impact of spatial heterogeneity of important soil and topographic variables on Tasmanian horticulture production, it has also included remote sensing application to predict vegetable yield.

‘Sustainability of groundwater resources for food security in Bangladesh: Understanding the multifunctional landscapes for irrigation and agricultural development’- Iffat is leading this scientific research to understand the impact of groundwater management on food security in Bangladesh, this will also focused on local level adoption and strategies of use of groundwater for irrigation in the smallholder farming systems.

Fields of Research

  • Agricultural spatial analysis and modelling (300206)
  • Sustainable agricultural development (300210)
  • Agricultural systems analysis and modelling (300207)
  • Agricultural land management (300202)
  • Natural resource management (410406)
  • Geospatial information systems and geospatial data modelling (401302)
  • Agricultural production systems simulation (300205)
  • Environmental assessment and monitoring (410402)
  • Environmental management (410404)
  • Horticultural production (300899)
  • Agronomy (300403)
  • Animal growth and development (300301)
  • Environmental management (410499)
  • Agricultural land planning (300203)

Research Objectives

  • Environmentally sustainable information and communication services (220299)
  • Sheep for wool (100413)
  • Field grown vegetable crops (260505)
  • Sustainability indicators (190209)
  • Sown pastures (excl. lucerne) (100505)
  • Understanding climate change (190599)
  • Climate variability (excl. social impacts) (190502)
  • Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences (280107)
  • Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems (180403)
  • Environmentally sustainable animal production (100199)
  • Demography (150202)
  • Other environmental management (189999)
  • Beef cattle (100401)
  • Surface water quantification, allocation and impact of depletion (180308)
  • Water policy (incl. water allocation) (190211)
  • Soils (180605)
  • Wheat (260312)
  • Rice (260308)
  • Barley (260301)
  • Environmentally sustainable plant production (260199)
  • Evaluation, allocation, and impacts of land use (180603)


Iffat’s research interests are varied, and she has publications in food security, climate change, policy management, natural resource management, disaster management, GIS application.

Total publications


Journal Article

(17 outputs)
2021Ara I, Turner R, Harrison MT, Monjardino M, DeVoil P, et al., 'Application, adoption and opportunities for improving decision support systems in irrigated agriculture: a review', Agricultural Water Management ISSN 0378-3774 (In Press) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Turner R; Harrison MT

2021Ojeda JJ, Rezaei E, Kamali B, McPhee J, Meinke H, et al., 'Impact of crop management and environment on the spatio-temporal variance of potato yield at regional scale', Field Crops Research, 270 Article 108213. ISSN 0378-4290 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2021.108213 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

Co-authors: Ojeda JJ; McPhee J; Meinke H


2020Ara I, Harrison MT, Whitehead J, Waldner F, Bridle K, et al., 'Modelling seasonal pasture growth and botanical composition at the paddock scale with satellite imagery', In Silico Plants Article diaa013. ISSN 2517-5025 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/insilicoplants/diaa013 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Harrison MT; Bridle K; Gilfedder L; Rawnsley R


2019Hayes RC, Ara I, Badgery WB, Culvenor RA, Haling RE, et al., 'Prospects for improving perennial legume persistence in mixed grazed pastures of south-eastern Australia, with particular reference to white clover', Crop and Pasture Science, 70, (12) pp. 1141-1162. ISSN 1836-0947 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/CP19063 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 10

Co-authors: Penrose B; Smith RW


2018Ara I, 'Perceptions and responses to climate change: understanding adaptation strategies and multi-level capacities in northern Bangladesh using livelihood resources', Regional Problems, 21 pp. 124-131. (2018) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]

DOI: 10.31433/1605-220Х-2018-21-3(1)-124-131 [eCite] [Details]


2017Ara I, Lewis M, Ostendorf B, 'Understanding the spatially variable effects of climate change on rice yield for three ecotypes in Bangladesh, 1981-2010', Advances in Agriculture, 2017 Article 6287156. ISSN 2356-654X (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1155/2017/6287156 [eCite] [Details]


2017Ara I, OstendorF B, 'A review of food security and the potentials to develop spatially informed food policies in Bangladesh', Earth Systems and Environment, 1 Article 19. ISSN 2509-9426 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s41748-017-0021-y [eCite] [Details]


2017Mondol MAH, Ara I, Das SC, 'Meteorological drought index mapping in Bangladesh using Standardized Precipitation Index during 1981-2010', Advances in Meteorology, 2017 Article 4642060. ISSN 1687-9309 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1155/2017/4642060 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 21Web of Science - 22


2016Ara I, Lewis M, Ostendorf B, 'Spatio‑temporal analysis of the impact of climate, cropping intensity and means of irrigation: an assessment on rice yield determinants in Bangladesh', Agriculture & Food Security, 5 Article 12. ISSN 2048-7010 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1186/s40066-016-0061-9 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8


2010Majumder AK, Hossain T, Sikder MT, Biswas JD, Ara I, et al., 'Assessment of supplied water quality of Sutrapur Thana, Dhaka', Journal of Environmental Science & Natural Resources, 3, (1) pp. 61-64. ISSN 1999-7361 (2010) [Non Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2009Ara I, Elahi KM, 'Food security, agricultural diversification and the Monga in Northern Bangladesh', Jahangirnagar Review, Part B: Social Science, XXXIII pp. 331-344. ISSN 1682-7422 (2009) [Non Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2009Shammi M, Shikder MT, Ara I, Uddin MK, 'Monitoring concentration of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) among the workers of ship industries: An urgent need for epidemiological studies', Journal of Environmental Science & Natural Resources, 2, (1) pp. 61-66. ISSN 1999-7361 (2009) [Non Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2009Sikder MT, Shammi MK, Ara I, Majumder AK, Biswas JD, 'Impact of climate change on agriculture: an investigation of vulnerability and adaptation of the coastal areas of Bangladesh', Journal of Environmental Science & Natural Resources, 2, (2) pp. 183-188. ISSN 1999-7361 (2009) [Professional, Non Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2008Ara I, 'Labour force structure in Bangladesh: 1974-2000', Journal of the Bangladesh National Geographical Association, 36, (1) pp. 83-97. (2008) [Professional, Non Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2008Ara I, 'Social and environmental impact of bird flu on poultry industries in Bangladesh', Bangladesh Journal of Social Science Review, 32, (Part II) pp. 197-210. ISSN 1682-7422 (2008) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2008Billah MM, Ara I, Shamsuddin SD, 'Developing baseline information for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) using images from Google Earth and Indian Remote Sensing (IRS): a case from Jamuna Floodplain', Bangladesh Journal of Environmental Research, 6 pp. 39-49. ISSN 1996-8914 (2008) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2007Ara I, Elahi KM, 'Understanding the Monga vis-a-vis famine in Northern Bangladesh', Oriental Geographer, 51, (1-2) pp. 26-43. ISSN 0030-5308 (2007) [Professional, Non Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Conference Publication

(2 outputs)
2019Ara I, 'Using satellite imagery for monitoring pasture cover and real-time grazing management', 22nd Precision Agriculture Symposium, 9-10 September 2019, Launceston, Tasmania (2019) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

2019Ara I, 'Unmanned drones and potato spacing', 1st International Agri-food Tech Event: evokeAg and AgriFutures Australia, 9-20 February 2019, Melbourne, Australia (2019) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Contract Report, Consultant's Report

(7 outputs)
2021Ara I, Harrison MT, 'National Landcare Programme Phase 2: Progress Report 6 - Remote sensing informed sheep grazing of introduced pastures and integrated management to assist Lowland Themeda grassland and woodland regeneration in Tasmania', Landcare, Hobart, Tasmania (2021) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Harrison MT

2021Harrison M, deVoil P, Monjardino M, Muleke A, Rodriguez D, et al., 'Optimising farm scale returns from irrigated grains: maximising dollar return per megalitre of water', Grains Research Development Corporation, Hobart, Tasmania (2021) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Harrison M

2020Ara I, Harrison MT, 'Remote sensing informed sheep grazing of introduced pastures and integrated management to assist Lowland Themeda grassland and woodland regeneration in Tasmania', National Landcare Programme Phase 2, Australia, 3 (2020) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Harrison MT

2020Ara I, Harrison MT, 'National Landcare Programme Phase 2: Progress Report 4' (2020) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Harrison MT

2020Ara I, Harrison MT, 'National Landcare Programme Phase 2: Progress Report 5 - Remote sensing informed sheep grazing of introduced pastures and integrated management to assist Lowland Themeda grassland and woodland regeneration in Tasmania', Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Hobart, Australia (2020) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Harrison MT

2019Ara I, Harrison MT, 'Using satellite imagery for monitoring pasture cover and real-time grazing management - Initial draft project planning report', Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Hobart, Australia (2019) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Harrison MT

2019Ara I, Harrison MT, 'Using satellite imagery for monitoring pasture cover and real-time grazing management - final project planning report', Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Hobart, Australia (2019) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Harrison MT


(2 outputs)
2017Ara I, 'A spatial analysis of food security in Bangladesh, based on climate change, management practices and socio-economic variables' (2017) [PhD]

[eCite] [Details]

2007Ara I, 'Understanding the Monga' (local term refers to regional low food security) in Northern Bangladesh' (2007) [Masters Research]

[eCite] [Details]

Other Public Output

(2 outputs)
2019Ara I, Harrison M, 'Smart farming: real time information from pixels to paddocks for more informed grazing management', Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, Australia, pp. 17-17. (2019) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Harrison M

2017Ara I, 'Postgraduate Student Award', Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards - South Australia, Surveying and Spatial Science Institute, Australia (2017) [Award]

[eCite] [Details]

Grants & Funding

Iffat’s main research interest is collaborative, innovative, multi-disciplinary research which focused on evidence based decision making for natural resources management by considering global changes

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Crop-livestock adaptation to climate change based on modelling and remote-sensing (2020)$49,957
We aim to assess how crop-livestock management practices impact farm performance regionally under different climate change scenarios. We will couple existing model-scaling and remote-sensing techniques developed in Argentina (summarized through the Forage Control Board) with the most advanced biophysical models in the world (APSIM) to assess the drivers of yield variability for diverse forage cropping systems in Argentina, Uruguay and Australia. We will seek to strengthen the skills between the three countries, Australia with systems modelling, Argentina with remote-sensing, and Uruguay with livestock systems analysis from currently running experimental dairy and beef farmlets. The project will be conducted collaboratively with livestock industry decision-makers who will perform exercises to explore alternative futures. This unique capability will facilitate the development of improved forage crop regional management and anticipation of environmental impacts. This collaboration will extend the use of current model and remote-sensing technologies between the three countries.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade ($49,957)
Grant-Council on Australia Latin America
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Ojeda JJ; Ara I; Aryal J
Optimising farm scale returns from irrigated grains: maximising dollar return per megalitre of water (2019 - 2023)$660,225
Irrigated cropping is an important component of Tasmanias 2050 AgriGrowth Vision. In other states, irrigated cropping is prominent in the Murrumbidgee and Murray valleys of southern NSW, the Murray valley of northern Victoria and south-east South Australia and the SA / Victorian Mallee. Recent changes have challenged the profitability of these irrigated cropping systems. This includes a three to four fold increase in water costs; an increased focus on winter crop production systems that complement summer cropping programs, and new irrigation layouts and technologies to accommodate a diverse range of winter and summer cropping options. The substantial increase in water values means crop selection, crop management and quantity of irrigation water applied to crops significantly effects gross margins.Significant gaps in knowledge exist regarding the true economically attainable yield potential of winter and summer grain crops in an environment where water supply can be manipulated to realise yields not possible in traditionally dryland production systems. In addition, information and knowledge is lacking regarding the most appropriate agronomic practices to deploy to realise the genetic potential of commercially available germplasm to maximise profit where water is no-longer the limiting factor. Growers can modify crop selection for irrigation layout and soil type; schedule irrigation according to target yield; and deploy crop agronomy practices based on existing data and knowledge. However, the practices developed initially for dryland systems require adaptation and validation to maximise the economic return or $/ML of water.This investment is one of four that will provide irrigated grain growers with the knowledge, confidence and tools to adopt management strategies which optimise return on investment ($/ML). As such, the project will operate closely with the three other GRDC tenders throughout the life of the project, particularly the action-learning groups. The action learning groups will consist of eight teams of farmers and advisors spread across the irrigated cropping zones in SE Australia and will provide a conduit of information to/from the current project.The primary aim of the present tender is to develop an economic decision support tool. This work will use an existing irrigation optimiser developed by UQ and other partners from past GRDC investment. TIA will lead the project.
Grains Research & Development Corporation ($660,225)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Harrison MT; Ara I; Phelan DC
2019 - 2023
Remote sensing informed sheep grazing of improved pastures, and integrated management, to assist Lowland Themeda Grassland and Woodland regeneration at Okehampton (2019)$99,500
This project will focus on improving timing of rotational sheep grazing with a focus on pasture composition, biomass, and leaf emergence is now well established as being able to improve non-native Phalaris pasture utilization and productivity by ~20% over set grazing. Sheep will selectively graze the most palatable plants first within any given area, and as such can be moved on before Phalaris pastures are damaged and grazing pressure shifts to unfenced bush remnants containing threatened vegetation communities. Remote sensing can enable offsite monitoring of grazing pressure on improved and native pasture and thus improve management efficiencies. Remote sensing can help inform of preferred times for rotational grazing, as both under- and over-utilization penalizes livestock productivity, is detrimental to the environment and inhibits vegetation recovery post grazing. Integrated management through good rotational grazing, fencing, woody weed removal and indigenous cultural informed burning can improve the condition of adjoining EPBC listed threatened lowland Themeda grasslands & woodlands, the timing of this improvement will be indicated by project monitoring. The outcomes will improve grassy vegetation cover and increase resilience from climate change induced high intensity rainfall and runoff causing soil erosion. The proposal provides a beneficial demonstration of an integrated approach to non-native pasture and native grassland management in areas where remnant native vegetation has become highly fragmented due to past land clearing or native grassland to pasture conversion.The project will be led by Rockpool Land & Water Services Pty Ltd under which TIA will be subcontracted.
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources ($99,500)
Grant-NLP2 Smart Farms Partnerships
Administered By
Rockpool Land & Water Services Pty Ltd
Research Team
Whitehead J; Harrison MT; Ara I
LiveGAPS 2 Understanding livestock yield gaps for poverty alleviation, food security and sustainability (2017 - 2019)$119,004
The productivity of livestock in the developing world is low, relative to its potential. There are significant opportunities to increase it via adequate mixtures of technologies, policies and investments in farms and product value chains. However, until recently, the baseline data needed to adequately characterize livestock productivity levels in different parts of the developing world was either not available, or not at a level of disaggregation necessary to make informed decisions on the upscaling potential of key interventions and their impacts on productivity and household nutrition and income. This is quickly changing due to new data sources but there is a significant need to study and synthesize the potential for productivity increases in smallholders systems for improved programmatic decision making and for targeting poverty and food security strategies.The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and other donors and development agencies need to target investments in the livestock sector in ways that are likely to maximize the impacts for broad numbers of producers and consumers. Estimating and understanding how to measure and trigger productivity changes in livestock systems is essential for better defining the technological and investment needs in the livestock sector. Estimates of livestock yield gaps are not available and these are necessary for developing feasible scenarios of how the production of different livestock commodities might evolve in the future, how systems might change and what would be the resource use implications and their costs, both for donors and for public and private entities in target countries. Productivity and yield gap analyses will also help define the most appropriate technology entry points for different livestock species: health, nutrition, genetics, policy levers, others. This information will contribute to making informed investment decisions and target technologies in the livestock sectors of developing countries as part of the SEBI grant coordinated by the University of Edinburgh on behalf of the BMGF.
CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation ($119,004)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Harrison MT; Herrero M; Christie KM; Ara I
2017 - 2019

Research Supervision

I have a strong interest in supervision of honours and postgraduate students with a large extent of projects dealing with evidence based decision making for agriculture and natural resources management.




PhDOptimising Whole Farm Economic Returns of Irrigated Grain Crops Throughout Australia2020