Scientific Consultant OPEN

Climate Change, Energy and Low-Carbon Development

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) envisions a more equitable world where forestry and landscapes enhance the environment and well-being for all. CIFOR is a non-profit, scientific institution that conducts research on the most pressing challenges of forest and landscape management around the world. Using a global, multidisciplinary approach, we aim to improve human well-being, protect the environment, and increase equity. To do so, we conduct innovative research, develop partners’ capacity, and actively engage in dialogue with all stakeholders to inform policies and practices that affect forests and people. CIFOR is a CGIAR Research Center, and leads the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). Our headquarters are in Bogor, Indonesia, with offices in Nairobi, Kenya; Yaoundé, Cameroon; Lima, Peru; and Bonn, Germany.

CIFOR is looking for

Scientific Consultant


As Indonesia ranks among the world’s top holders of high-carbon reservoir tropical wetlands, a major area for improvement in its Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL) and national Measuring, Reporting and Verifying (MRV) system is the refinement of GHG accounting in peatlands and mangroves. While Indonesia’s FREL is a laudable first effort, areas for technical improvement suggested by UNFCCC reviewers encompassed inclusion of peatland fires, non-CO2 emissions, and post-conversion/-intervention removals among others. CIFOR’s project seeks to improve Indonesia’s FREL and update the existing MRV system for wetlands with the aim of further characterizing underrepresented forest dynamics, such as peatland fires and mangrove deforestation, degradation and regeneration. There is a need to reduce emission factor (EF) and activity data (AD) uncertainties, including non-CO2 greenhouse gases (GHGs), and to reinforce sink monitoring. This pathway should be in line with efforts to enhance Indonesia’s ambitions for its NDC stipulated in the Paris Agreement.

Duties and responsibilities

The consultant will update emission factors for tropical and Indonesian peatlands through a revision of the literature and process-based modelling. She or he will produce a database and a report on updated emission factors for tropical and Indonesian peatlands based on the revision of the literature; and a scientific article on updated emission factors for tropical and Indonesian peatlands based on the literature and modelling.
The consultant will:
1) Revise the scientific literature related to peat GHG (CO2, CH4 and N2O) emission factors and controlling environmental variables in tropical and Indonesian peatlands that burn, are drained or restored. The peat CO2, CH4 and N2O emission factors will be updated following the standards of the Wetland Supplement to the 2006 IPCC guidelines. For fires, updated data on depth of peat burn along with data on peat bulk density and organic carbon content will be reviewed. For peat net CO2 emissions, data on soil heterotrophic respiration, dissolved organic carbon, litter- and branch-fall, and root mortality will be reviewed. Empirical relationships with environmental factors will be derived and differentiated by land-use intensity class, drainage class, or peat nutrient status where possible. A database and a report on updated emission factors will be produced.
2) Explore simple and more complex process models for improving Tier 2 emission factors. Dynamic mechanistic models will be used to generate GHG emissions for key land use categories and management practices from which simple empirical relationships and updated emission factors can be derived for use in the FREL or national emissions reporting. The process-based model Wetland-DNDC will be tested as a first step, using calibration and validation data from undrained peat swamp forests and/or drained oil palm plantations located in Tanjung Puting, Kalimantan. The work entails:
  • Analyzing the structure of the model, listing calibration/validation parameters and conducting a literature search on missing parameters;
  • Running the model, analyzing its performance for a set of variables (e.g. soil moisture / water table level) and examining changes to be brought to / bringing changes to the model for optimizing its performance;
  • In case the model can acceptably simulate soil GHG fluxes, evaluating the feasibility of deriving from its results simple relationships between soil GHG fluxes and parameters that can be easily monitored in the framework of an MRV system; and
  • Writing a paper from the research results.
3) Participate in relevant project meetings and / or present results in scientific conferences.

Education, knowledge and experience

• A PhD or master’s degree in Forestry, Natural resources, Soil science or relevant field;
• Knowledge on soil fluxes of greenhouse gases and affecting variables;
• Good knowledge of modelling and statistics;
• Good writing skills (first author of at least two papers published in an international peer-reviewed journal); and
• Excellent spoken and written English.

Personal Attributes and Competencies

• Good organizational skills;
• Attention to detail, and independent;
• Excellent Interpersonal and communication skills.

Terms and Conditions

• This is a part-time, product-based consultancy service.
• CIFOR offers competitive remuneration commensurate with skills and experience.
• The assignment is aimed to start from 01 March 2020, and run until 30 November 2021.
• The work location will be home based.

To apply, please visit our career site at:

To learn more about CIFOR, please visit our website at:

CIFOR is an equal opportunity employer. Staff diversity contributes to excellence.

Application process

The application deadline is 16 Feb-2020
We will acknowledge all applications, but will contact only short-listed candidates.