Ichsani Wheeler

Ichsani Wheeler

B.L.W.Sc.(Hons I), Ph.D.


Agricultural land and water restoration, natural resource monitoring, soil carbon methodologies 

Ichsani (Ish) Wheeler developed a deep bond with, and love for, nature as a home-schooled child running around in the Australian Outback in a remote part of Far North Queensland. When the time came to go to university, it was natural that Ish would elect to study environmental science but wanted to study subjects that had a practical component with a pragmatic focus. Ish graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Land and Water Science (Hons I) and, after a foray into design and development industry, she returned to a postgraduate program in the soil and agricultural sciences under the supervision of Dr Alex McBratney.

In 2014 Ish successfully defended her PhD thesis on the topic of "The auditability of soil carbon at the farm scale" at the University of Sydney, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment. This dissertation devised and demonstrated patentable quantitative methods for quantifying amounts of, and changes in, soil carbon at the farm scale as a necessary prerequisite to enabling soil carbon to be treated as a measurable commodity in calculations of carbon offsets and trading.  

After completing her PhD in Sydney, Ish moved to the Netherlands where she began developing contacts and obtaining contracts as a freelance consultant in the area of sampling, mapping and quantifying the spatial distribution of soil carbon at global to field scales. Her most recent contracts have been with the UNCCD, first focusing on Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) for Land Degradation Neutrality and degradation hotspot analysis for 100+ countries. Now she has responsibility for providing the SOC global default data and Tier I calculation of SOC change 2000-2015 globally, as part of a larger team enabling any country to report the SDG indicator 15.3.1. 'Proportion of land that is degraded over total land area' from default data. Additionally, Ish is supporting and training country teams in achieving their reporting goals as well as adapting their own data into the SDG 15.3.1 reporting process. 

Ish has gained considerable experience managing projects (budgeting, timetabling) as well as coordinating large groups of people (30+) in training and collaborative work environments, primarily acquired through: consultancy, postgraduate studies and freelance contracting, technical classes, delivery of tutorials and community workshops. Additionally, she is experienced in working with a wide range of cultures in a variety of settings, delivering both highly technical training materials as well as beginners guides, and is able to adapt her style to suit the goals of the group.

A classic 'out-of-the-box' thinker, Ish continues to pursue her passion for contributing to a restored world. 

"Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books."

John Lubbock