Nawa Raj Dhamala

Postdoctoral researcher in cropping systems diversification - Cropping Systems Ecology (CSE) research group


My research experiences lie in the interface between agronomy and ecology that include crop and cropping system diversification including legumes, plant interaction in multi-species mixture, resource use efficiency, legume biological N2 fixation and nitrogen cycling in plant and soil systems.  

I have a passion to enhance agrobiodiversity and agroecological farming by promoting legumes in cropping systems. My particular interest is in investigating multiple ecosystem benefits of legume-based crop and cropping system diversification, with the emphasis on improved crop yield and yield stability, resource use efficiency, biological N2 fixation, soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics in relation to soil fertility, crop and agro-environmental quality, and agricultural mitigation and adaptation to climate change.


I teach in cropping and food system diversification, multifunctionality of diversified legume-based cropping systems, the role of legumes for sustainable production and food systems, legume biological N2 fixation and plant-soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics in grassland and arable cropping systems, the Nitrogen and Phosphorous nutrients use and dilemmas, and Nepalese Agriculture- opportunities and challenges


Currently, I am involved in the two EU research projects, ReMIX and SolACE. In ReMIX, we aim at exploiting the benefit of species mixtures to design and implement a more diversified and resilient agro-ecological arable cropping system, which rely less on the supply of external inputs and maximize productivity and ecosystem services of agricultural systems. Our focuses are on co-designing and assessing crop mixtures in a multi-actor platform involving researchers, farmers, advisors and other related stakeholders, and investigating grain legume and cereal intercropping as a strategy for ecological precision farming.We design and conduct on-farm and on-station trials on various intercropping strategies between grain legumes and cereals and evaluate for crop yield performances, inter-species interactions, resource use efficiency,

The aim of the SolACE project is to combat future limitation of resources such as water and nutrients in European agriculture through the design of resource-efficient crop genotype and agroecosystem management innovations focusing on three major European crops- potato, bread- and durum wheat. We focus on the rotational design of cropping systems including legumes under the given management and agro-climatic condition, and agronomic assessment of agroecosystem management strategies in farmer's network. We evaluate the pre-crop effect of legume or legume / cereal intercrop in different on-farm trials for improved performance of succeeding bread wheat crop common in southern Sweden, and agronomic performance of various crop management innovations based on the collection and analysis of data from on-farm experiments across seven European countries.  


Ph.D. in Agroecology, Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University (AU), Denmark (2014-2017)

Dissertation: Nitrogen dynamics in temporary multi-species grasslands

MSc in Agroecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden (2010-2012)

Dissertation: Effect of varietal and species diversity on nitrogen fixation and nitrogen cycling in an organic faba bean-spring wheat intercropping system

Publikationer i urval

Dhamala, NR , Chongtham, IR, and Jensen ES (2021). Intercropping of oat and pea to address field-scale soil heterogeneity. Aspects of Applied Biology 146 (in press). 

Chongtham, IR, Dhamala, NR , and Jensen, ES (2021). Effect of intercropping designs of spring wheat and faba bean on crop productivity and resilience to weather extremes. Aspects of Applied Biology 146 (in press).

Jensen, ES, Chongtham, IR, Dhamala, NR , Rodriguez, C., Carton, N., and Carlsson, G. (2020). Diversifying European agricultural systems by intercropping grain legumes and cereals. International Journal of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 47 (3): 174-186.

Rasmussen J., Gylfadottir, T., Dhamala, NR , De Notaris, C., and Katterer T. (2019). Temporal fate of 15N and 14C leaf-fed to red and white clover in pure stand or mixture with grass - Implications for estimation of legume derived N in soil and companion species. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 133: 60-71.

Dhamala, NR , Rasmussen, J., Carlsson, G., Søegaard, K., Eriksen, J. (2018). Effects of including forbs on N2 fixation and N yield in red clover-ryegrass mixtures. Plant and Soil, 424: 525-537. 

Dhamala, NR , Rasmussen, J., Carlsson, G., Søegaard, K., Eriksen, J. (2017). N transfer in three species grass-clover mixtures with chicory, ribwort plantain or caraway. Plant and Soil, 413 (1): 217–230. 

Dhamala, NR , Eriksen, J., Carlsson, G., Søegaard, K., Rasmussen, J. (2017). Highly productive forage legume stands show no positive biodiversity effect on yield and N2 fixation. Plant and Soil, 417: 169- 182.

Dhamala, NR , Rasmussen, J., Cong, WF, Carlsson, G., Søegaard, K., Eriksen, J. (2017). Short ‐ term residual N unaffected by forbs in grass ‐ clover mixtures. Soil Use and Management, 33 (3): 457-459.

Conference papers 

Dhamala, NR , Carlsson G. and Jensen, ES (2019). Diversity of perennial legume-grass mixture influences the delivery of ecosystem services in organic arable cropping systems. European Conference on Crop Diversification (ECCD), Abstract book, 140-141. 

Dhamala, NR , Carlsson G. and Jensen, ES (2019). Multispecies perennial forage legume and grass mixtures for improved nitrogen supply of organic arable cropping systems. Agricultural Research for Development (Agri4D) Conference, Uppsala, Sweden. 

Carlsson, G., Carton, N., Chongtham, IR, Dhamala, NR , Jensen, ES and Rodriguez Gonzalez, C. (2019). Intercropping grain legumes and cereals for sustainable food systems. Agricultural Research for Development (Agri4D) Conference, Uppsala, Sweden.

Eriksen, J., Dhamala, NR , Cong, WF, Søegaard, K. and Rasmussen, J (2017). Clover-grass mixtures with herbs - carbon, nitrogen and biodiversity. In: Plant Congress 2017, Henning, Denmark, pp. 230-231.

Dhamala, NR , Rasmussen, J., Carlsson, G., Søegaard, K. and Eriksen, J (2016). Nitrogen fixation in red clover grown in multi-species mixtures with ryegrass, chicory, plantain and caraway. The multiple roles of grassland in the European Bioeconomy. Grassland Science in Europe, 21: 576-578. 

Dhamala, NR , Eriksen, J., Carlsson, G., Søegaard, K. and Rasmussen, J (2016). Nitrogen transfer in three-species mixture of grass, clover and forbs. Efficient use of different sources of nitrogen in agriculture – from theory to practice Skara, Sweden, 74-75.

Dhamala, NR , Søegaard, K. and Eriksen, J (2015). Competitive forbs in high-producing grasslands with perennial ryegrass and red clover can increase plant diversity and herbage yield. European Grassland Federation, Proceedings of the General Meeting, Grassland Science in Europe, 20: 209-211. 

News article  

Dhamala, NR , Eriksen, J. Non-leguminous forbs in productive temporary grasslands. ICROFS (International Center for Research in Organic Food Systems) news, 6 October 2016.