Dr Phuc Xuan To

Research Fellow

Phuc Xuan To is a research fellow at Resources, Environment and Development Group of Crawford School of Public Policy. Phuc received his PhD in environment at Humboldt University (Germany) in 2007. His dissertation project examines the political economy of the forest sector in Vietnam, with a particular focus on the dynamics of access and control over the forest. From 2007 to 2009, Phuc was working as a postdoc fellow at Anthropology Department of University of Toronto (Canada), where he participated in “The Challenges of Agrarian Transitions in Southeast Asia “ (ChATSEA) research project. Since 2009, Phuc has been working with Forest Trends as a senior policy analyst. His work has the dynamics of market-based instruments (e.g. Payments for Ecosystem Services), emerging global legality regulations, and land governance.

Areas of expertise

  • Land Governance
  • Environmental Change
  • Development Studies
  • Rural Sociology


Research interests

Researcher’s projects

The political ecology of forest carbon – mainland Southeast Asia’s new commodity frontier (2012-2015), supported by an ARC Discovery Grant, this study aims to understand how forest user in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos respond to the complex local, national and regional dimension of the emerging market for forest carbon. In this project Phuc works as a research fellow.

Since June 2018 Phuc has worked on a new ARC Discovery research project Rupture: Nature – Society transformation in mainland Southeast Asia. This project will reveal how nature – society ruptures generate local and civil society responses, and how these responses affect states in the regions.

Since 2009 Phuc has led a research team in Vietnam and together with our local partners (e.g. government research institutions, private sector) to conduct policy research in the areas of land governance, cross-border illegal logging, and responsible trade of forest-risk commodities. Insights from these studies have been used by government actors, private sector and development practitioners in Vietnam, the Mekong Region, and beyond to inform the policy dialogue with aim to improve resource governance in the Region.

Research interests

  • The dynamics of market-based instruments
  • Commodity markets
  • Land governance
  • Global legality systems for land-based commodities.

Phuc has been doing a numerous guest lectures on rural property relations, state, payment for ecosystem service, illegal logging, resource access and control.