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Full-time Academic Staff: Teaching Staff

Professor Zhenci Xu
許振賜 助理教授


Room 10.03

391 72837

Assistant Professor




HKU Scholar Hub

BSc (China Agricultural University); PhD (Michigan State University, US)

Professor Zhenci Xu is a human-environment researcher with focus on sustainable development goals, footprint, food-energy-water carbon nexus, ecosystem service, ecology as well as China development. He is interested in taking a holistic approach, such as integration of various components (e.g., agents, causes, spatial-temporal scales, effects, feedbacks, environmental and socioeconomic interactions), to address complexity of human-environment interactions and related sustainability issues such as sustainable development progress assessment, impacts of distant interactions on local sustainable development, and synergies and trade-offs between various kinds of ecosystem services

Research Interests
  • Sustainable Development Goals

  • Food-energy-water-carbon nexus

  • Footprint

  • China development

  • Human environment interactions

  • Ecology

  • Ecosystem service



Sustainable Development



Annual; 1st Semester


Human Impacts on Ecosystems



Annual; 1st Semester


Sustainability Assessment, Analysis and Management



Annual; 2nd Semester

Selected Publications


  • Xu, Z., Chen, X., Liu, J., Zhang, Y., Chau, S., Bhattarai, N., ... & Li, Y. (2020). Impacts of irrigated agriculture on food–energy–water–CO 2 nexus across metacoupled systems. Nature communications, 11(1), 1-12.

  • Xu, Z., Chau, S.N., Chen, X….& Liu, J. Assessing progress towards sustainable development over space and time. Nature 577, 74–78 (2020) doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1846-3.

  • Xu, Z., Li, Y., Chau, S. N., Dietz, T., Li, C., Wan, L., ... & Liu, J. (2020). Impacts of international trade on global sustainable development. Nature Sustainability, 1-8.

  • Chen, X., Wang, P., Muhammad, T., Xu, Z., & Li, Y. (2020). Subsystem-level groundwater footprint assessment in North China Plain–The world’s largest groundwater depression cone. Ecological Indicators, 117, 106662. (as corresponding author)


  • Xu, Z., Paul, M., Gong, M., & Liu, J. (2019). Shift in a National Virtual Energy Network. Applied Energy, 242, 561-569.

  • Xu, Z., Chen, X., Wu, S. R., Gong, M., Du, Y., Wang, J., ... & Liu, J. (2019). Spatial-temporal assessment of water footprint, water scarcity and crop water productivity in a major crop production region. Journal of Cleaner Production, 224, 375-383.

  • Wang, J., Chen, X., Liu, Z., Frans, V. F., Xu, Z.*, Qiu, X., ... & Li, Y. (2019). Assessing the water and carbon footprint of hydropower stations at a national scale. Science of The Total Environment, 676, 595-612. (as corresponding author)

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