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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

The determinants of optimal leaf area in eucalypt plantations

Supervisors: Prof Mark Hunt, Assoc Prof Mark Hovenden, Dr Daniel Mendham, Dr Dean Williams

This project will explore the influences of fertiliser and temperature on optimal leaf area in eucalypt plantations. Dramatic increases in leaf area have been observed under high fertiliser treatments in nutrition trials. Extra leaf area increases photosynthetic area, but also incurs a respiratory cost to the plant in terms of leaf construction and maintenance. Extra leaf area may be an adaptation to store nutrients for re-translocation in times of nutrient deficit. The project will explore the relationship between nitrogen and phosphorous fertiliser treatments and total leaf area, the vertical distribution of leaf area and the longevity of N and P in foliar stores. It will also measure rates of photosynthesis and respiration as a function of light, temperature, and nutritional status.

Rose Brinkhoff, YouTube video

Rose Brinkhoff

Rose is exploring the influences of fertiliser and temperature on optimal leaf area in eucalypt plantations.

Development of an autonomous unmanned aerial system for below-canopy laser scanning of forests.

Supervisors: Assoc Prof Paul Turner, Dr Mohammad Sadegh Taskhiri, Dr Dean Williams

Drones are a cost-effective means of collecting forest data and are conventionally used above the forest canopy. This project seeks to develop an autonomous, unmanned aerial system for mapping the forest from beneath the canopy. The purpose of this approach is to provide a mapping solution for areas of dense undergrowth and dense canopy, where ground-based methods are difficult/hazardous and above canopy methods struggle to penetrate to the stems. The end goal of this project is to be able to autonomously map a difficult region of forest in less time and in far greater detail than can humans, reducing inventory costs and improving worker safety.

Sean Krisanski, YouTube video

Sean Krisanski

Sean seeks to develop an autonomous, unmanned aerial system for mapping the forest from beneath the canopy.

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. Robiotics-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