madhuMadhu Rao is Regional Advisor (Asia Program) with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Development Coordinator of the Asian Species Action Partnership, an IUCN SSC initiative aimed at averting the extinction of critically endangered South east Asian vertebrates. She has earned her Master’s and Ph.D degrees from Duke University and is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. She has been involved with the development of science-based conservation projects focused on addressing threats to endangered species and natural ecosystems within and outside protected area systems in Southeast Asia and China. She also has experience with capacity development for protected area management in the Southeast Asia region. Her research interests include protected area governance, the exploitation of wildlife and human-wildlife conflict.

Selected Peer Reviewed Publications

  1. Rao, M., Johnson A., Spence K., Sypasong A., Bynum N., Sterling E., Phimminith T. and Bounthob. 2014. Building Capacity for Protected Area Management in Lao PDR. Environmental Management 53: 715–727. DOI 10.1007/s00267-014-0235-9.
  2. Soh, Y.H., L.R. Carrasco, D.G. Miquelle, J. Jiang, J. Yang, E.J. Stokes, J. Tang, A. Kang, P. Liu, and M. Rao. 2014. Spatial correlates of livestock depredation by Amur tigers in Hunchun, China: Relevance of prey density and implications for protected area management. Biological Conservation 169: 117–127. DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.10.011
    Papworth, S.K., A. Kang, M. Rao,, S.T, Chin, H. Zhao, X. Zhao and L.R. Carrasco. 2014. Bear-proof fences reduce livestock losses in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, China. Conservation Evidence 11: 8-11.
  3. Rao, M., S. Htun, S.G.Platt, R. Tizard, C. Poole, T. Myint and J.E.M. Watson. 2013. Biodiversity conservation in a changing climate: A review of threats and implications for conservation Pplanning in Myanmar. Ambio 42: 789–804. DOI 10.1007/s13280-013-0423-5
  4. Webb, E.L., J. Phelps, D.A. Friess, M. Rao and A.D. Ziegler. 2012. Environment-friendly reform in Myanmar. Science 336: 295.
  5. Pettigrew, M., Y. Xie, A. Kang, M. Rao, J. Goodrich, T. Liu and J. Berger. 2012. Human-carnivore conflict in China: A review of current approaches with recommendations for improved management. Integrative Zoology 7: 210-226.DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-4877.2012.00303.x
  6. Watson, J.E.M., M. Rao, A. Kang and X. Yan. 2012. Climate change adaptation planning for biodiversity conservation: A Review. Advances in Climate Change Research 3: 1-11. DOI 10.3724/SP.J.1248.2012.00001
  7. Rao, M., T. Zaw, S.Htun and T. Myint. 2011. Hunting for a Living: Wildlife trade, rural livelihoods and declining wildlife in the Hkakaborazi National Park, North Myanmar. Environmental Management 48: 158-167. DOI 10.1007/s00267-011-9662-z
  8. Watson, J.E.M., M. Cross, E. Rowland, L.N. Joseph, M. Rao and A. Seimon. 2011. Planning for species conservation in a time of climate change. Editors: Blanco, J. and H. Kheradmand. InTech Open Access Publishers. 488 pp.
  9. Shahabuddin, G. and M. Rao. 2010. Do community-conserved areas effectively conserve biological diversity? Global insights and the Indian context. Biological Conservation 143: 2926–2936. DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.04.040
  10. Sodhi, N.S., P. Davidar and M. Rao. 2010. Empowering women facilitates conservation. Editorial. Biological Conservation 143: 1035-1036. DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.02.014
  11. Sodhi, N.S., T.M. Lee, C.H. Sekercioglu, E.L.Webb, D.M. Prawiradilagao, D.J. Lohman, N.E. Pierce, A.C. Diesmos, M. Rao, P. Ehrlich. 2009. Local people value environmental services provided by forested parks. Biodiversity and Conservation 19: 1175-1188. DOI 10.1007/s10531-009-9745-9
  12. Rao, M., T. Zaw, S. Htun and T. Myint. 2010. Hunting, livelihoods and declining wildlife in the Hpongkhanrazi Wildlife Sanctuary. Environmental Management 46: 143-153. DOI 10.1007/s00267-010-9519-x
  13. Rao, M. and J. Ginsberg. 2010. From conservation theory to practice: Crossing the divide. Pages 284-310, in: Sodhi, N. and P. Ehrlich (editors).Conservation Biology for All. Oxford University Press. 341 pp.
  14. Stokes, E.J., M. Rao, A. Johnson. 2009. Monitoring wildlife populations for management. NCEP module
  15. Rao, M., E.J. Stokes, A. Johnson. 2009. Monitoring for management of protected areas: An overview. NCEP module
  16. Rao, M., A. Johnson and K. Spence. 2009. Managing protected areas for biodiversity: Creating linkages and mapping land use. NCEP module.
  17. Dudley, N. and M. Rao. 2008. Assessing and creating linkages within and beyond protected areas: A quick Guide for protected area practitioners. Quick Guide Series ed. J. Ervin. Arlington, VA: The Nature Conservancy. 28 pp.
  18. Naro-Maciel, E., E.J. Sterling, and M. Rao. 2008. Protected areas and biodiversity conservation I: Reserve planning and design: Synthesis. Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History. Available from
  19. Rao, M., K. Spence, A. Johnson. 2008. Introduction to protected areas in Lao PDR: Synthesis. Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History.
  20. Rao, M. K. Spence, A. Johnson. 2008. Site conservation planning for National Protected Areas in Lao PDR: Synthesis. Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History.
  21. Rao, M. 2007. Saving nature amid civil conflict and military rule: Conservation challenges and opportunities in Myanmar. Nature, Wildlife, People Seminar 577: 51-57.
  22. Rao, M., A. Johnson, and N. Bynum. 2007. Assessing threats in conservation planning and management: Synthesis. Lessons in Conservation (1): 44-71. Available from:
  23. Rao, M. and T. Larsen. 2005. Ecological consequences of extinctions. Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, New York.
  24. Rao, M., T. Myint, T. Zaw and S. Htun. 2005. Hunting patterns in tropical forests adjoining the Hkakaborazi National Park, North Myanmar. Oryx 39: 292-300. DOI 10.1017/S0030605305000724.
  25. Rao, M. 2005. Biodiversity conservation and integrated conservation and development projects. Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, New York.
  26. Bennett, E. L. and M. Rao. 2002. Hunting and Wildlife Trade in Tropical and Sub-tropicalAsia: Identifying gaps and developing strategies. Wildlife Conservation Society, New York.
  27. Rao, M. and P. McGowan. 2002. Wild-Meat use, food security, livelihoods, and conservation. Conservation Biology 16: 580-583.
  28. Bennett, E.L. and M. Rao. 2002. Wild meat consumption in Asian tropical forest countries: Is this a glimpse of the future for Africa? Pages 39-44,in: Proceedings of the conference on links between biodiversity conservation, livelihoods and food security: The sustainable use of wild meat, Yaounde, Cameroon, 17th-21st September 2001. IUCN, Gland.
  29. Terborgh, J., L. Lopez, P. Nunez, M. Rao, G. Shahabuddin, M. Riveros, R. Ascanio, T.D. Lambert, G.H. Adler, L. Balbas. 2001. Ecological Meltdown in Predator-Free Forest Fragments. Science 294: 1923-1926. DOI 10.1126/science.1064397
  30. Davenport, L., and M. Rao. 2002. The history of protection: Lessons from the past and challenges for the future. Pages 30-52, in: Terborgh, J., C.P. van Schaik, L. Davenport and M. Rao,(editors). Making Parks Work. Island Press, Washington DC.
  31. van Schaik, C.P and M. Rao. 2002. The frontier model of development and its relevance to protected area management. Pages 424-442, in: Terborgh, J., C.P. van Schaik, L. Davenportand M. Rao(editors). Making Parks Work. Island Press, Washington DC.
  32. Terborgh, J.W., C.P. van Schaik, L. Davenport and M. Rao. 2002. Editors. Making Parks Work. Island Press, Washington DC. 511 pages.
  33. Rao, M., A. Rabinowitz and S. T. Khaing. 2002. Status review of the protected area system in Myanmar with recommendations for conservation planning. Conservation Biology 16: 360-368. DOI 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2002.00219.x
  34. Rao, M., J.W. Terborgh and P. Nunez. 2001. Increased herbivory in forest isolates: Implications for plant community structure and composition. Conservation Biology 15: 624-633. DOI 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2001.015003624.x
  35. Rao, M. 2000. Variation in leaf-cutter ant (Atta sp.) densities in forest isolates: The potential role of predation. Journal of Tropical Ecology 16: 209-225.
  36. Rao, M. and C.P. van Schaik. 1997. The behavioral ecology of Sumatran Orangutans in logged and unlogged forest. Tropical Biodiversity 4 : 173-185.