Forest Vulnerability and Health (FVH) research group focuses on understanding the interactions between forest ecosystems and climate, disturbance and management. We are interested in understanding the balance between forest vulnerability and resilience, and associated tipping points which are important determinants of the capacity of forest landscapes to provide ecosystem services now and in the future.
Key emerging risks to forest ecosystems in Australia and globally are potential changes in fire regimes and climate change (through, for example, changes in forest productivity, changes in forest regeneration, increased drought stress, changes in fire frequency). There is a need for improved understanding of interactions between fire, climate change and forest management which may have significant impacts on the distribution of forest species and ecosystem composition and structure. The FVH research group strives to provide information relevant to land managers which enables decisions to be made that enhance management of forest landscapes and facilitates the maintenance of multiple values and ecosystem services.
Our research philosophy centers around integrating quantitative and experimental ecology with modelling to address questions around management and the environment. We use a range of modelling tools from species-level regeneration models to landscape-level simulation models to tackle issues such as climate change, sustainable forest management and conservation. We also use a range of methodologies from dendroecology to remote sensing and work in a variety of settings from natural to urban forests. Our research approach is broadly outlined below and operates under the assumption of changing environmental factors (biotic and abiotic).
Though our research is primarily focused on southeast Australia we work globally with projects currently in Canada, Bhutan and Papua New Guinea.