Phuc Xuan To's picture

Phuc Xuan To

Honorary Lecturer

Contact details

Phuc To is an Honorary Lecturer in the Resources, Environment and Development Group of Crawford School of Public Policy. Phuc’s areas of expertise include resource governance, environmental change, and development studies. In 2012 – 2017 Phuc worked on an ARC research project examining how forest users in the Mekong countries respond to the complex local, national, and regional dimensions of the emerging market for forest carbon. Since 2018, Phuc has worked on a new ARC Discovery project examining how nature-society ruptures generate local and civil society responses, and how these responses affect states in the region.

Phuc received his PhD in resource governance. His PhD project examines the dynamics of access and control over the forest in Vietnam. In 2007-2009 period, Phuc was a postdoc fellow at Anthropology Department of University of Toronto (Canada), where he engaged in a large-scale research project funded by the Canadian Research Council examining the agrarian change in Southeast Asian countries.

Since 2009, Phuc has been working with Forest Trends as a senior policy analyst. His work has been focusing on the dynamics of market-based instruments, forest-risk commodities, global legality regulations, land governance, state authority and legitimacy. Phuc has been providing policy advice to the EU, the US Departments of Justice, of Forest Service, Asian Development Bank, and Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment.

COVID-19 expertise

Phuc To has been working intensively in COVID-19-relevant areas.

In February and March 2020, in collaboration with timber sector in Vietnam Phuc was examining the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector particularly in the areas of wood export and import, production, and consumption.

The research combined an enterprise survey and in-depth interviews with key actors revealed paramount impacts of the pandemic on the sector, including disruption of supply chains, the company’s shrinking production or entirely shutting down, and large-scale job loss. Vulnerable groups such as household-based/micro and small-scale enterprises and hired laborers were hit the hardest.

The study findings directly fed into policymaking process, triggering the Vietnamese government’s issuance of the policies and measures aimed at mitigating the negative impacts of the pandemic on the sector and vulnerable groups.

In collaboration with local partners, Phuc used the findings to inform a virtual high-profile workshop to discuss how to improve the sector’s resilience and sustainability post-COVID 19. The findings also helped generate healthy discussions on how to prepare the country and the sector to embrace the opportunities and mitigate the risks associated with the shift of global supply chains from China to Vietnam in the future.

Phuc To has started engaging in the rubber and sugar sector in Vietnam for similar research.

Areas of expertise

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

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.

Updated:  18 July 2024/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team