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Forest Management

Examines how to manage forests for a range of purposes including production and conservation. Topics range from the tree level to the landscape level.

Current Projects

Scaling up adoption of co-operative agroforestry among smallholders in Tasmania

Planting trees on agricultural landscape may be perceived as expensive and difficult to adopt, involving complex management of multiple crop and tree species. The most highly ranked constraints for farmers adopting agroforestry have been associated with the cost of harvesting and transportation, availability of markets, lack of technical assistance, timber price obscurity and the long wait for returns, specifically when it comes to small-scale plantations.

Where the average private ownership size is small, co-operatives may be needed to provide landowner assistance by planning and managing forests at spatial scales that are larger than an individual property. Thus, the focus of this research is to identify institutional arrangements and incentives that affect Tasmanian farmers' decisions to engage in co-operative behaviours in agroforestry practices. Behavioural economics approaches and experimental techniques are adopted to study the instruments and incentives of which can improve the capacity of planting trees in agricultural landscape in Tasmania.

headshot of Zoya

Deer in forestry landscapes - Autonomous detection and deterrent devices for browsing management in forested landscapes

This project will deliver an innovative solution to the management of problem browsing mammals in forested landscape, using deer as a test case. Deer are a serious cost to the forestry industry due to browsing, bark-stripping and antler rubbing of trees leading to a dramatic reduction in tree growth, changes in tree form and tree death. Current methods including lethal control are expensive and pose work, and health and safety concerns.

This project will develop and field test best practice surveillance, detection and deterrent technologies and develop new options to decrease damage in forest landscapes. Robotics-inspired automated detection devices shall be developed and tested (e.g. thermal and colour cameras, acoustics) in coupes. Novel autonomous deterrent devices shall then be developed and pilot tested in browsed landscapes.

The project is a collaborative project with Forest and Wood Products Australia, Hancock Victorian Plantations, University of Sydney, and funded through the NIFPI Gippsland Centre. The field work is based in North East Victoria and shall be primarily undertaken in Radiata pine plantations.

headshot of Alison

Quantifying risks and the scale of the mammal browsing problem to inform technological solutions

Supervisors: Julianne O’Reilly-Wapstra, Geoff While and Dean Williams

This project aims to address the problem of mammalian browsing in native regeneration and commercial forestry environments by developing informed risk management procedures. The desired impact will be to reduce costs incurred when protecting against mammalian herbivores and move management techniques toward non-lethal solutions.

The research will have 2 core components: 1) Using long term operational browsing data to progress previous attempts to develop risk models and generate new predictive models for browsing risk based on site selection and environmental variables. This will enable better targeting of control measures to high-risk areas and reduce unnecessary implementation at low-risk sites. 2) Development of a detection system using a long range, low power (LoRa) network to assess the scale of mammalian browsing. The aim being to shift away from labour intensive manual assessments to a remote system better suited for isolated forest locations and to help inform the future development of novel deterrent devices.

headshot of James