Michael Doherty, CSIRO

Mr Michael Doherty: investigating urban vegetation and bushfire management

Mr Michael Doherty is a plant ecologist who is using his expertise in vegetation dynamics and management to help improve bushfire management in urban areas.

  • 10 September 2007 | Updated 3 March 2014

In this article

  1. Overview
  2. Publishing History


Page 1 of 2

Current activities

Mr Michael Doherty is researching the composition, structure and function of remnant and planted vegetation in urban environments and the management of bushfire at the urban-bush interface.

His key research activities include:

  • Measuring and monitoring urban ecological function in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). This project is investigating the theory, usage and practical feasibility of existing field protocols and is reviewing and testing a variety of methods and approaches in Canberra, Australia. The knowledge gained from this research will be used to develop new approaches to measure and monitor ecological function in urban areas.
  • Community monitoring of fire management at urban-bush interfaces. A project working with selected Community Fire Units and Park Care groups to evaluate on-ground measurements used to measure and monitor the planned hazard reduction and fuel reduction fires in and around Canberra.
  • Post-fire monitoring of vegetation recovery after the 2003 fires in Bimberi Nature Reserve, Brindabella National Park and Burrinjuck Nature Reserve (NSW).


Mr Doherty has worked on a range of collaborative projects, many of which have focused on vegetation management in conservation reserves and production forests in south-eastern Australia.

As well as working on vegetation management with Federal and State government agencies, he has worked on consulting projects locally and overseas, ranging from the Pilbara in Western Australia to Cheju Island in the Republic of Korea.

He has developed expertise in applying Federal and State environmental legislation, particularly on projects applying conservation assessment criteria at local, regional and international levels, including World Heritage criteria.

He is particularly interested in the dynamics and management of temperate ecosystems and he is now bringing these research interests to address challenges in the management of urban ecosystems.

Mr Michael Doherty is currently researching remnant and planted vegetation in urban environments and the management of bushfire at the urban-bush interface.

Prior to joining CSIRO in 1991, Mr Doherty worked for:

  • the National Herbarium of New South Wales, 1984
  • the National Parks and Wildlife Service of New South Wales, 1986-91.

Academic qualifications

Mr Doherty graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biological Science from the University of Sydney, Australia, in 1986, majoring in plant ecology with undergraduate majors in botany, zoology and physical geography.


Mr Doherty’s key achievements include:

  • involvement in regional conservation planning in south-eastern New South Wales over 20 years, leading to improved long term protection and management of biodiversity in the reserve system
  • setting up and monitoring long term fire ecology research plots in the northern parts of the Australian Alps to gauge the impact of large landscape fires.

Mr Doherty's professional memberships include:

  • Ecological Society of Australia
  • Australian Network for Plant Conservation.

Read more in the Sustainability overview.