Maharaj K. Pandit is a professor at the Department of Environmental Studies and the director of the Centre for Inter-Disciplinary Studies of Mountain & Hill Environment at the University of Delhi. His research focuses on Himalayan ecology and conservation that follows a synthesis approach to understanding ecological patterns, biotic extinctions driven by changes in land use, and genomic traits influencing plant invasiveness and rarity.
During his fellowship, Pandit is undertaking research for his book Life in the Himalaya, to be published by Harvard University Press. The book explores a “safe space” for the Himalaya in the context of the more than 1.3 billion people who depend on the natural resources of water and biodiversity there. The Himalaya also influences global climate. Pandit aims to present an interdisciplinary account of the Himalaya’s past and present and to highlight the importance of the world and international institutions taking notice.
Pandit earned his BSc and PhD from the University of Delhi, where he became a professor after a decade of research at University of Delhi South Campus. He has been a fellow at the National University of Singapore, where he has also served as a visiting senior fellow in the University Scholars Programme and held an adjunct appointment in the Department of Geography. He returned to University of Delhi in 2009 as the director of the School of Environment Studies and later as the head of the Department of Environmental Studies. Pandit was elected to the National Academy of Sciences of India in 2014.