We need sustainable forests for the future
Forest play a dominant role in delivering many products and services upon which society depends, including clean water, biodiversity, carbon storage, social and amenity values and wood products. Our natural and planted forests are at risk from events like drought, heatwaves and fire.
There is growing pressure from consumers for wood products that can demonstrate their environmental sustainability. As well, there is growing recognition of the non-timber values of forests and their importance to society.
Our scientists are developing tools and models of how trees grow, forests function, and the risks imposed especially by climate change and fire, so that our forests can be managed sustainably into the future.
Our forest and landscape processes and risks research
We are leading the way in new approaches to monitoring the environmental sustainability of forest management, to help demonstrate the impacts and benefits of forest management on Australia's natural capital - the soil, water, biodiversity and air that is essential to produce timber and other ecosystem services from forests.
Our long history of research specialising in forest growth, health and response to environment, and in managing risks to forests such as bushfires, pests, diseases and climate change, is helping us to address questions such as:
- The trade-offs between managing forests for timber and non-timber goods and services
- The ways in which forests can add value to agricultural enterprises, through analysis of costs and benefits of varying land use practices
- Water uptake by forests and implications for forest management to control catchment water supplies and water quality
- The ways that forest production depends on, and impacts on, natural capital, and approaches to monitor change in natural capital stocks and flows in forested landscapes
- Growing and managing forests in developing countries for livelihood enhancement
- Carbon sequestration by planted and natural forests, and carbon accounting methodologies
- Predicting risk from bushfires, effectiveness of prescribed burning and suppression and emergency response, including potential impacts of future climates and fire regimes on fuel loads and risk.
We undertake multidisciplinary research across a range of spatial and temporal scales, from tree to landscape, both within-years and across decades.
We embed knowledge into models and decision tools developed and maintained by the group, specifically 3_PG2 and Cabala which are widely used around the world to improve management of planted forests. We are national experts and developers of the Australian Government's FullCAM model, used for national carbon accounting. We are developing the next generation of fire spread and behaviour models to improve fire preparedness and firefighting.
We are also developing models and frameworks for the application of natural capital accounting at enterprise scale, as a tool to help forestry and other enterprises report on their environmental sustainability over time.