Meet some of our completed PhD Candidates.
Recently completed PhD projects
Measuring and assessing structural complexity in restoration plantings
Prof Brad Potts, Prof Mark Hunt, Dr Arko Lucieer, Dr Peter Harrison, Dr Neil Davidson
This project aims to establish and test a methodology to measure and assess forest structural complexity using a combination of remote sensing technologies and field surveyed data in the Tasmanian Midlands, one of Australia’s 15 biodiversity hotspot regions. Forest structure is commonly recognised to be a good indicator of biodiversity complexity, following the concept that ecosystems containing different stands with a broad variety of structural attributes are more likely to provide resources for a variety of species utilising them.
The project starts with a review of recent literature on structural complexity indices and ways to measure and assess its main attributes using remote sensing technology. Ecological questions will be investigated in the restoration planting at Dungrove, near Bothwell, where stability of provenance performance in pure and mixed species ecology trials has been tested. The project will then look at the tree-level assessment of structural attributes, in the restoration plantings, using a combination of field work and LiDAR data acquired from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). We will focus on the capabilities of hyperspectral imagery acquired from UAV to effectively differentiate between eucalypt species and potentially genetic provenances, and look at temporal changes in the development of structural attributes at Dungrove restoration site, using ground-based LiDAR (ZEB1) scans from three different years over three 0.1 ha plots.
Non-destructive evaluation of plantation logs for segregation into different product types
Assoc Prof Julianne O'Reilly-Wapstra, Prof Mark Hunt, Assoc Prof Greg Nolan, Dr Nathan Kotlarewski, Dr Andrew Jacobs, Dr Dean Williams
There are great opportunities to extend the use of the hardwood plantation estate in Tasmania for higher-value products such as sawn material, veneers and engineered wood products. To maximise these opportunities, it is important to understand the wood quality traits of the current resource.
This project aims to investigate wood quality traits of standing eucalypt trees, logs and boards using non-destructive techniques. The project works across the full value chain of growers, harvesters and processors to:
- Investigate and map environmental effects on wood quality traits in fibre-grown Eucalyptus nitens plantations
- Examine the capacity to sort and segregate trees and logs on a harvesting landing using Non-Destructive Techniques to predict wood properties
- Investigate the perceived and effective characteristics of the raw material impacting different products
- Assess the volume and value recovery of eucalypt sawn material for structural production
- Investigate in-forest segregation systems to sort logs into different quality classes at the moment of harvest
The outcomes of this research will enable a greater understanding of the characteristics of the fibre-managed eucalypt plantation resource, its suitability for different product types and its potential uses, while validating the use of readily available and novel technologies to test wood quality.