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National Institute of Abiotic Stress Management

Senior Scientist (Soil Science)
National Institute of Abiotic Stress Management
Malegaon – 413 115
Baramati, Pune
Maharashtra, India

Phone #: Mobile: +917775860774; Work: +912112254058;
Email:; Website:

Curriculum Vitae


A strong desire to manage soil, an important non-renewable natural resource, led to higher learning and experience in phased manner. New learning and its implementation helped in understanding the soil resource in relation to the crops it supports. Ability in the analysis of ground situation resulted into expertise in sampling, instrumental analysis, data processing, interpretation and communication to spread the results. Research experience for 24 years in multidisciplinary projects implemented in different parts of India and working with people of multiple cultures and languages instill tremendous confidence to lead the team and to work as a partner at any target place. Expertise in software application in applied geoinformatics including remote sensing, GIS and statistical analysis created a great interest in modeling to understand the cause and effect relationship. Problem solving attitude resulted in devising tools and developing testing methods that simplified the process while cutting the costs down.

Areas of Expertise

Soil Science - soil resource characterization, management, soil plant interrelationships, analytical methods

• In a probe to find reasons for no response to applied fertilizers, analysis of data on soils in one million hectares revealed the importance of Effective Soil Volume (ESV). The results of field experimentation adjusted to the ESV described excellently the yield of a test crop, Hevea. This highlighted the necessity to consider ESV in fertilizer application.
• Suggested a simple water displacement method to measure ESV that can be adopted at farmer's level while using a specially fabricated auger for gravelly soils.
• Showed the significance of volume-based expression of soil nutrients in describing the yield better than gravimetric expression. Plantation Crops Symposium XVII, 5-8 December, 2006, Kochi, India unanimously recommended testing this concept in all soils and for all crops.
• Identified the demerit of using neutral normal ammonium acetate in acid soils as it leads to erroneous conclusions because of extraction of elements at neutral pH. Based on a comparative study, suggested the use of 0.1 M barium chloride that described plant growth better than ammonium acetate.
• Conducted studies on soil solution, the circulatory fluid of soil body. A stainless steel centrifugal filter was devised for soil solution extraction at a lesser cost.
• Developed and tested a cheap method of rapid tissue analysis that is total, comparable with conventional leaf analysis and adoptable in mobile laboratories also.

Geoinformatic tools – applied geoinformatics in Soil Science and vegetation mapping

• An Information System was developed covering the aspects of rubber cultivation including a theme on soil resources in one million hectares area.
• Experience in relating landscape attributes derived from the digital elevation models with the resultant soil characteristics while visualizing the terrain in three dimensions.
• Finalized the scheme to rearrange the soil maps generated at a cost of 0.5 million dollars after statistical analysis and use of GIS tools. These maps are being used at every Field Office for advisory purposes serving 1.1 million small farmers in rubber growing areas in Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India.

Statistical tools - application of multivariate statistics to soil and plant data
• Extensively used Principal Component Analysis, Factor Analysis, Discriminant Function Analysis, Path Analysis and Multiple Regression to reveal the latent structure of data on soils and to understand soil-plant interrelationships effectively.


Junior Scientist – 1989 to 1993, Rubber Research Institute of India, Agartala, Tripura.

Joined as Junior Scientist with an objective to excel in the management of soil.
• Initiated a study on nitrogen mineralization in as Principal Investigator. Joined hands as Co Principal Investigator in multidisciplinary research projects like Clone Trial, Nutrition Trial, Density Trial and Ecological Impact Studies of Rubber Plantations in North East India.
• With practical learning in soil survey, land evaluation and applied remote sensing, looked at soils and their variance in a given scale in the management perspective. Surveyed and mapped the soils of Regional Research Station Farm, Agartala.
• As In-Charge of a mobile soil and tissue testing laboratory, covered extensive area in the North East India and monitored analysis of a few thousands of soil samples for advisory purposes to rubber growers.

Scientist – 1994 to 2007, Rubber Research Institute of India, Kottayam, Kerala.

Joined at Head Quarters to continue contributions to research and management of soil resources.
• Principal Investigator for a project on 'Development of rapid method of tissue analysis' and developed a method which is cheap, efficient, total and comparable to conventional total leaf analysis. This method is adoptable in mobile soil and tissue testing laboratory also.
• Fabricated and tested stainless steel centrifugal filter designed for soil solution extraction for its success. Results were encouraging and soil solution could be extracted simply at a lesser cost.
• Gained much experience in soil characterization, applied multivariate statistics and remote sensing which was documented in PhD thesis titled 'Productivity classification of some soils under rubber (Hevea brasiliensis Arg. Muell) in Kerala'.
• Principal Investigator for projects; 1. Soil solution chemistry and nutrition of Hevea, 2. Application of multivariate statistical techniques to soil survey data, 3. Development of rubber information system using remote sensing and GIS techniques 4. Application of remote sensing techniques for mapping powdery mildew leaf disease in Hevea. Also acted as Co Principal Investigator in projects namely 1. Soils of special conditions, 2. Effect of relief on the yield of rubber, 3. Characterization of soil, a component of G x E studies, 4. Physico-chemical characteristics of soils of RRS, Padiyoor. Documented the learning and experience in working as a team leader and partner in interdisciplinary projects in the form of publications and presentations.

Senior Scientist -2007 to 2011 (up to August), Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute (ICAR), Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh.

Joined at IGFRI as Senior Scientist to continue contributions to the science of soils with grasses and fodder crops as test crops.
• Initiated work in problem soils with a project on 'Soil solution chemistry and nutrition of fodder crops in saline-sodic soils' as Principal Investigator funded by IGFRI.
• Documented the experience of statistical analysis and visualization techniques to understand the soils, using freely available resources.
• Acted as Co Principal Investigator in multidisciplinary projects namely 1. Optimization of forage yield through development of suitable soil-crop management strategies under rainfed semiarid conditions, 2. Utilization of rhizospheric interactions for enhancing nutrient acquisition and use efficiency of forage crops in acid soils, 3. Development of mulberry based hortisilvipastoral system for optimizing land productivity in rainfed situation. Also associated as a Co Principal Investigator in an externally funded project on Development of crop weather yield models for different agro-climatic regions of Uttar Pradesh.

Senior Scientist¬ -2011 (from September) onward, National Institute of Abiotic Stress Management, (ICAR), Baramati, Pune, Maharashtra.

• Initiated networking with several national and international institutes for seeking cooperation in the preparation of abiotic stress maps of India. These institutes include NBSS&LUP, NRSC and ICRISAT.
• Started a project on using long term MODIS data pertaining to the study area to understand the abiotic stresses as indicated by NDVI that reflected in yield performance. This study also intends to establish a methodology to map abiotic stress at regional level using the satellite imagery supported by other kinds of available data including on edaphic stresses derived from digital soil maps.


Ph.D. in Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry with minors in Agronomy and Statistics. Degree was awarded by the Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur, Kerala in 2000.

Additional Skills

• Gained extensive experience in soil analysis and instrumental methods using sophisticated equipments like Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, UV-VIS spectrophotometer and Ion Analyzer etc.
• Gained good experience in Applied Statistics, Remote Sensing and GIS tools
• Expertise in software like SPSS, JMP, Statistica, Statgraphics, ArcGIS, ERDAS, PCI Geomatica. Certified by in the use of SPSS in 2000.
• Widely used freely available software tools and data including Google Earth images, digital elevation models (SRTM and ASTER) in understanding the relation between landscape attributes and resultant soil properties.


Peer reviewed papers

Fand BB, Tonnang HEZ, Kumar M, Bal SK, Singh NP, Rao DVKN, Kamble AL, Nangre DD and Minhas PS. 2014. Predicting the impact of climate change on regional and seasonalabundance of the mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) using temperature-driven phenologymodel linked to GIS. Ecological Modelling, 288, 62-78.

Rao DVKN. 2013. Volume based expression of soil variables: Good descriptor of soil-plant interrelationships. Scientific Research and Essays, 8(29), 1380-1388.

Shukla A, Kumar A, Jha A, Gupta A and Rao DVKN. 2012. Phosphorus threshold for arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization of crops and tree seedlings. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 48, 109-116.

Rao DVKN and Vijayakumar KR. 2011. Effective soil volume- A prime consideration for fertilizer management in rubber. Journal of Indian Society of Soil Science, 59(4), 329-335.

Rao DVKN and Tripathi SB. 2011. Statistical techniques to understand soils. Journal of Indian Society of Soil Science, 59(3), 224-228.

Rao DVKN, Nair PV and Lakshmanan R. 2011. Landscape attributes and first layer actual soil volume. Journal of Indian Society of Soil Science, 59(1), 6-13.

Rao DVKN. 2009. Relationship between temporal changes in soil properties and rubber plant growth – A path analysis approach. Journal of Indian Society of Soil Science, 57(1), 18-23.

Rao DVKN and Jessy MD. 2007. Impact of effective soil volume on growth and yield of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis). Geoderma, 141, 332-340.

Rao DVKN, Punnoose KI and Karthikakuttyamma M. 2007. Interpretation of survey data of soils under rubber: Use of multivariate statistics. Journal of India Society of Soil Science, 55(2), 99-104.

Satisha GC, Rao DVKN, Lakshmanan R and Nazeer MA. 2006. Pedochemical characterization of rubber growing soils of northeastern upland zone of Kerala. Journal of Plantation Crops, 34(3), 323-329.

Rao DVKN. 2006. Expression of soil nutrient contents: by weight or volume? Journal of Plantation Crops, 34(3), 290-295.

Rao DVKN, Thomas J and Punnoose KI. 2006. A rapid method of determination of total N, P and K in a single digest of fresh leaf material of Hevea. Journal of Indian Society of Soil Science, 54(3), 277-282.

Eappen T, Rao DVKN, Karthikakuttyamma MK, Sarma AC, Dey SK, Varghese YA and Krishnakumar AK. 2005. Influence of plantation crops on soil properties in Tripura. Natural Rubber Research, 18(1), 67-80.

Prasannakumari P, Rao DVKN, Elsie SG and Punnoose KI. 2005. Study of soils in non-conventional areas of rubber cultivation in Kerala and their effect on growth and yield of Hevea brasiliensis. Natural Rubber Research, 18(1), 38-45.

Rao DVKN. 2005. Evaluation of soil extractants in terms of growth. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 36 (11&12), 1513-1523.

Rao DVKN and Jose AI. 2003. Cationic composition of soil solution of some rubber growing soils in Kerala, India. Journal of Indian Society of Soil Science, 51, 239-246.

Rao DVKN and Jose AI. 2003. Fertility capability classification of some soils under rubber in Kerala. Journal of Indian Society of Soil Science, 51, 183 – 188.

Rao DVKN and Jose AI. 2002. Numerical classification of some soils under rubber in Kerala. Journal of Indian Society of Soil Science, 50, 492-497.

Rao DVKN, Jose AI and Punnoose KI. 2002. Study of soil-plant interrelationship in Hevea: a factor analysis approach. Indian Journal of Natural Rubber Research, 15(2), 137-142.

Varghese P, Rao DVKN, Varghese M, Vinod KK, Pothen J and Krishnakumar AK. 1996. Spatial distribution of roots and nutrients in soils under rubber plantations in Tripura. Indian Journal of Natural Rubber Research, 9(2), 106-111.

Rao DVKN and Pothen J. 1996. Quantity-Intensity relationships of potassium in two soils from Kerala and Tripura. Indian Journal of Natural Rubber Research, 9(2), 138-141.

Rao DVKN, Pothen J and Potty SN. 1994. Role of Fe in P fixation. India, n Journal of Natural Rubber Research, 7(1), 65-67.

Raju DT, Rao DVKN and Rao STV. 2002. Remote sensing applications in animal husbandry planning. Journal of Extension Education, VII (1&2), 76-79.

Krishnakumar AK, Eappen T, Rao DVKN, Potty SN and Sethuraj MR. 1990. Ecological impact of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) plantations in North East India. I. Influence on soil physical properties with special reference to moisture retention. Indian Journal of Natural Rubber Research, 3(1), 53-63.

Rao DVKN, Reddy AT, Reddy DVR and Pillai RN. 1989. Effects of N-fertilisation and Rhizobium inoculation on In Vivo nitrate reductase activity and nitrogen content of blackgram. Journal of Maharashtra Agricultural Universities, 14(3), 332-334.
Presented in Conferences

Rao DVKN, Rao ARVK, Minhas PS. 2013. Contribution of edaphic factors to the crop stress as identified by NDVI – An analysis. Abstracts of National Seminar 0n Development in Soil Science: 2013. 78th Annual Convention of Indian Society of Soil Science, 23-26 October 2013, CAZRI, Jodhpur

Rao DVKN. 2012. Spatiotemporal edaphic stress in gravelly Ultisols of Kerala – A review. Presented in the 8th Plant Soil Interactions in Soils of Low pH, 18-21, October 2012, Bangalore, India.

Rao DVK and Minhas PS. 2012. Growing Significance of Effective Soil Volume – An Important Edaphic Stress Factor in Mapping. Presented in National Seminar on Managing Land Resources for Sustainable Agriculture, 12-13 October, Nagpur.

Nair NU, Nair KM, Meti S, Rao DVKN, Chandy B and Naidu LGK. 2010. Land and soil controls over the spatial distribution and productivity of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) in Southern India. Proceedings of 19th World Congress of Soil Science. Symposium 3.1.1 - Further Development of Soil Evaluation Methods: Soil Solutions for a Changing World, 1 – 6 August 2010, Brisbane, Australia. pp. 68-71.

Rao DVKN and Tripathi SB. 2009. Freely accessible high resolution ASTER digital elevation model: Its use in soil science. Presented in the Platinum Jubilee Symposium of Indian Society of Soil Science, New Delhi, 22-25 Dec 2009.

Meti S, Rao DVKN, Nair, U and Jacob J. 2008. Distribution of natural rubber cultivation in relation to soil and landscape attributes in India. Proceedings of 29th Asian Conference on Remote Sensing, 10-14 Nov 2008, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Rao DVKN and Vijayakumar KR. 2005. Effective soil volume based recommendations: An important issue. In: Pre-prints of papers. International Natural Rubber Conference, India 2005, 6-8 Nov 2005 (Eds. NM Mathew, CK Jacob, MGS Nair, KK Thomas, GC Satisha, P Srinivas, AC Korah, AS Ajitha and L Joseph), Rubber Research Institute of India, Kottayam, Kerala, India.

Rao DVKN, Meti S, Nair ANS and Punnoose KI. 2003. A project on development of rubber information system: Current status. Proceedings of Indian Society of Remote Sensing Symposium, 9-12 Dec 2003, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India (published on CD).

Rao DVKN, Jose AI and Rao AVRK. 2003. Spectral signature and temporal variation in spectral reflectance: Keys to identify rubber vegetation. Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Remote Sensing, 23-27 Sep 2002, Crete, Greece. Proceedings of SPIE, 4879, 114 – 124.

Rao DVKN and Punnoose KI. 2003. Towards development of a rubber information system. Proceedings of the 15th Plantation Crops Symposium PLACROSYM XV, 10-13 Dec 2002, Mysore, India. pp.393-398.

Invited lectures

Rao DVKN. 2012. Use of freely available resources and geomatic tools in climate change studies. Presented in 3rd National Symposium on Agriculture Production and Protection in Context of Climate Change, 3-5 November 2012, BAU, Ranchi, Jharkhand.

Rao DVKN. 2012. Free and open sources of software and data for applied geoinformatics. National Workshop on “Geoinformatics Applications for Decentralised Governance in a Panchayati Raj Framework”, 11-13 July 2012, National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad.

Rao DVKN. 2010. Free and Open Source of Software Tools (FOSS) in natural resources management. 2nd International Conference on Climate Change & Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, 5-7 Dec 2010, ITM Universe Campus, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.

Rao DVKN and Thammiraju D. 2009. Climate change, fodder production and livestock. Proceedings of National Seminar on Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in Agriculture and Allied Sectors, 3-4 Dec 2009, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur, Kerala. Invited papers. pp. 57-67.

Rao DVKN. 2008. An important physical feature to be considered in land management. Paper presented in International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture, 6-8 Feb 2008, CMS College, Kottayam, Kerala.

Rao DVKN. 2002. Combined use of remote sensing and GIS for development of and management of database: A case study with rubber plantations. Proceedings of National Seminar on GIS Applications in Micro level Planning, 7-8 Aug 2002, National Institute of Rural Development, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, Hyderabad, India. pp. 18-31.

Book chapters

Rao DVKN. 2013. Applied remote sensing and GIS techniques in bio-physical resource characterization for management. In: Geospatial Technologies for Natural Resources Management. (Eds. SK Soam, PD Sreekanth and NH Rao), New India Publishing Agency, New Delhi. pp. 201-210.

Rao AVRK, Rao DVKN, Wani SP, Minhas PS, Amhed, MI and Madhukar G. 2013. Moisture stress assessment through NDVI and climate tools for crop management in Ananthapur district, AP. In: Geospatial Technologies for Natural Resources Management. (Eds. SK Soam, PD Sreekanth and NH Rao), New India Publishing Agency, New Delhi. pp. 363-374.

Rao DVKN, Naidu LGK, Srinivas S, Vittal KPR and Minhas PS. 2012. NDVI based assessment of regional level abiotic stress. In: The Third National Conference on Agro-Informatics and Precision Agriculture 2012 (Eds. P Krishna Reddy, VC Patil, AR Alagawadu, L Armstrong B Bhaskar Reddy and DP Biradar), Allied Publishers Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi. pp. 99-103.

Rao DVKN and Thammiraju D, 2010. Climate change, fodder production and livestock. In: Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in Agriculture and Allied Sectors (Ed. GSLHV Prasada Rao). Scientific Publishers (India), New Delhi. pp. 50-58.

Rao DVKN. 2009. Application of GIS tools for alternate land use options. In: Agroforestry -Natural Resource Sustainability, Livelihood and Climate Moderation (Eds. OP Chaturvedi, A Venkatesh, RS Yadav, Badre Alam, RP Dwivedi, Ramesh Singh and SK Dhyani), SS Publishing House, New Delhi. pp. 521-530.

Rao DVKN, Nair PV, Prem E and Nazeer MA. 2006. Information technology tools in rubber cultivation. In: AFITA 2006-The Fifth International Conference of the Asian Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture (Eds. VC Patil and S Ninomiya), MacMillan India Ltd, New Delhi. pp. 507-524.

Rao DVKN, Jose AI, Rao AVRK and Punnoose KI. 2001. Soils under rubber - An integration of Remote sensing and GIS. 2001. In: Spatial Information Technology: Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (Ed. IV Muralikrishna), BS Publications, Hyderabad. pp. 440-446.

Rao DVKN, Krishnakumar AK and Potty SN. 1993. Studies on mineralisation of native soil organic nitrogen in rubber growing soils of Tripura. In: Red and Laterite Soils of India - Resource Appraisal and Management (Eds. J Sehgal, VAK Sarma, RK Batta, KS Gajbhiye, SR Nagabhushana and KR Venugopal), NBSS & LUP, Nagpur. pp. 262-267.
Training manuals and bulletins

Rao DVKN. Forage production in problematic soils. Manual on Training Programme on Forage Production and Utilization Technologies, 12-19 Jan 2009, Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. pp. 33-38.

Sridhar K, Biradar N, Karthigeyan S, Rao DVKN and Roy AK. 2008. Tryst with destiny: Research initiatives for fodder resource development in peninsular India. Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Regional Research Station, Dharwad – 580005. p.30.


Life Member, Indian Society of Soil Science, New Delhi.
Life Member, Indian Society of Remote Sensing, Dehra Dun.
Life Member, The Society of Agricultural Professionals, Kanpur.
Life Member, Indian Society of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, Nagpur


Professional training

• Short Course on Remote Sensing: An Overview for Decision Makers, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun, 17-20 June 2014.
• National Level Training Programme on Climate Change and Geospatial Technology, CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, New Delhi, 12-18 March 2012.
• Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT), AICRP-NICRA, Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Hyderabad, 13-17 Feb 2012.
• Quantitative Decision Making Techniques for Grassland and Fodder Research, Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, 22-26 Jun 2009.
• GIS based Decision Support Systems for Sustainable Agriculture, National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, Hyderabad, 1 - 21 Feb 2008.
• Good Agricultural Practices for Safe, Secured and Sustainable Crop Production, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology Pantnagar, 28 Mar - 17 Apr 2006.
• Agricultural Applications of Remote Sensing and GIS techniques, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment (formerly National Soil Tilth Laboratory) and Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture, USA, 6 Sept – 5 Nov 2004.
• Geomatica-Fundamentals, CDAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), Pune, India, 21 – 25 Oct 2002.
• Winter School on GIS for Land Resource Data Management, National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, Bangalore, India, 3 - 23 Oct 2001.
• Spatial Information Technology: Few Issues, Jawaharlal Nehru technological University, Hyderabad, India, 28 Jan – 1 Feb 2001.
• Applications of Remote Sensing through Visual and Digital Image Processing, National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad, India, Nov 1992 –Jan 1993.
• Soil Survey and Land Evaluation, National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, ICAR, Nagpur, India, Aug- Nov 1991.

Other training

• Indo-US sponsored International Congress cum Workshop on IPR, Amity University, NOIDA, UP, 5-7 Oct 2009.
• Open Access in Indian Agriculture: Prospects, opportunities, advantages and challenges, brainstorming workshop, International Crop Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics, Hyderabad, 6-7 Sep 2009.
• Alternate Land Use Options for Resource Conservation, Emerging Market Needs and Mitigation of Climate Change in Rainfed Regions, Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Hyderabad, 16 Jan - 5 Feb 2009.
• ICAR Training-cum-Workshop on IP and Technology Management, National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources, Lucknow, 18-20 Dec 2008.
• Training Programme on Participatory Technology Development, IGFRI, Jhansi, organised by MANAGE (National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management), Hyderabad, 3-7 Nov 2008.
• Training Programme on Local Institutional Building for Community Land Management, IGFRI, Jhansi organised by MANAGE (National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management), Hyderabad, 26-30 May 2008.


SAP Recognition Award 2010 given by The Society of Agricultural Professionals, Kanpur.
R.L. Narasimha Swamy Memorial Award for the Best Original Research Paper for the paper titled ‘Towards Development of a Rubber Information System’ presented during Plantation Crops Symposium XV, 2002, Mysore, 2002.

Date of birth