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Programme one: The Monitor - Issue three (June 2007)

Newsletter of the Managing and Monitoring for Growth and Health research programme

Issue three: June 2007

From the Programme Manager

Michael Battaglia

Changes in attitude towards the climate and increased focus on carbon trading recently have confirmed the direction of our science in Programme One.  Physiologically sound models of growth and health will allow us to anticipate and predict climate change effects on our forest estate.  The production of new tools that allow us to detect and monitor change in forest condition will also become important. A drying of the climate is making the prediction and moderation of forest water use a consideration – assessing the impact of the drying climate and evaluating trade-offs is now a key concern. As we enter an era of carbon trading the need to predict carbon stocks and assess the value of forests for multiple values become imperative.  The information and decision-support tools generated by Programme One will be important aids in getting the balance right between economic, social and sustainability values.

We have already seen some good extension work on our current research: at the forest LiDAR workshop, two CABALA workshops, a field day at Pittwater, a Mycosphaerella workshop and some journal publications.  With field experiments now reaching the really useful stage, and models and laboratory experiments into the development phase, we’ve laid the foundations now for some exciting results.  I hope that this copy of The Monitor provides a good taster of our current science.

Welcome to new post-docs Paul Drake, Mila Bristow, Jan Verbesselt and Karen Barry – seek them out at the Annual Science Meeting, which is fast approaching, along with our other CRC post-docs Rob Musk and Tony O’Grady. They are a collective cookie jar of smart cookies.

I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone again at the Annual Science Meeting in July and toasting a successful second year in a most apt place.  With our post-doctoral fellows in place and a good number of PhD students now at their desks and in the field, work over coming years will lay the foundations for us to meet our ultimate research targets.

New scholarships

Research Programme One is advertising five scholarships in the mid-year round in projects 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3.

Do you know of a likely candidate who may be interested in one of the scholarships on offer?

Be quick! Applications close 30 June.

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Green Hills research plantation

by Caroline Mohammed et al.

The Green Hills pine plantation has been affected by commercially-important insect pests and fungal pathogens since the 1920s. The CRC for Forestry has brought a unique multidisciplinary team of experts together from ac­ross Australia to study this plantation and the large scale series of projects is already yeilding results... Read more

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Industry insights

by Lyndall Bull, Timbercorp

"It is clear that ongoing refinement and improvement of the tools in Programme One is of pivotal importance to our industry..." Read more

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Guest spot

by Adam Gerrand, Manager, National Forest Inventory, Bureau of Rural Sciences
"Climate change is one of the overarching challenges we face as a society and forest research has an important role to play, presenting both opportunities and constraints for this industry into the long term..." Read more

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Project news

Site evaluation

(Sub-project 1.1.1)
by John Gallant and Jody Bruce
Distinguishing between soil transport-limited and supply-limited hillslopes appears to depend upon topography, geology and climate. We tested an initial model based upon these three effects at the Green Hills site. The next version of this model will be tested over a wider area of south-eastern Australia... Read more

Remote sensing

(Sub-project 1.1.2)
by Neil Sims

We established permanent plots for measuring the colour and transparency of pine trees across the 30,000 hectare Green Hills estate. We hope that data from this site will be useful for all the subprojects... we now have a comprehensive set of leaf area index photographs, a spectral library which is being used to do such things as identify the cover of blackberry bushes and the ‘health’ of pine crowns, and we have an agreement on the location of our joint-field site for the translation of this work into eucalypts... Read more

Airborne remote sensing

(Sub-project 1.1.3)
by Robert Musk and Jon Osborn
Interest in ALS over remote sensing alternatives is chiefly motivated by the fact that it is an active system which directly senses the structural properties of the forest. Rob and Jon have written an article that reports on a current empirical investigation of the relative effect of flying height on canopy metric estimation using ALS data in mixed age eucalypt forest... Read more

Sustaining resources

(Sub-project 1.2.1)
by Don White

There are now more than 250,000 hectares of bluegum plantations established in Western Australia. These plantations are now being harvested and recent measurements show that where plantation water use exceeds rainfall the soil water store is depleted during the first rotation. To optimise management of replanted and coppiced plantations we must first develop a quantitative understanding of the relationships amongst climate, management, resource (nutrients and water) supply and resource use and conversion to wood... Read more

Forest health

(Sub-project 1.2.2)
by Libby Pinkard

The forest health group have put out a massive 13 scientific publications (both published and in press ). Meet two new members of this group: incoming postdoctoral researcher Karen Barry and PhD candidate Audrey Quentin... click here

Modelling and integration

(Project 1.3)
by Michael Battaglia and Tony O'Grady

Two important activities for this project have (1) been working towards a remnant forest decision support system and (2) to integrate our forest health and crown damage models with the CABALA model... Read more

Subtropical modelling

(Project 1.4)
by Mark Hunt

Extensive broadscale plantation establishment has occurred during the past decade in areas of northern Australia (particularly Queensland) where there is no history of hardwood plantation forestry and little or no empirical experimental base that can be used to predict survival and growth of trees.  The use of physiological models is seen as the only way to address this need in the short term... Read more

The CRC for Forestry acknowledges the hard work of Maria Ottenschlaeger in putting this newsletter together.