Research student profile: Chun Liang

Project title

Can planting trees make it rain? Investigations into land surface atmosphere feedbacks.

Project overview

My project aims to investigate the scale and extent of the atmospheric feedbacks on land cover change such as land clearing and reforestation, zooming in the feedback effect to a smaller area.

Some areas in Australia, such as the MDB regions, are experiencing severe droughts in the last five years. There are debates on whether the existing trees would increase or decrease local water storages.

Previously, researches have found positive interaction between the rainfall events and large scale of land use change in arid and semi-arid areas. Recently, works have also done on the soil-vegetation-climate model. However, in microscale only the soil-vegetation feedback was studied. It will be a large step forward to investigate the vegetation-climate model in microscale too.

To tackle this project my research involves the use of spatial analysis software and statistical models.

From this I hope to demonstrate the benefits of vegetation covers to local climate conditions. Findings from this work will better inform catchment management authorities on drought relief solutions.


I came from China in 2001 and studied a dual-award course on mathematics (bachelor) and IT (diploma) from RMIT. In the last two years, I worked in the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, from where I started to understand the issues of water and land use in Australia.

I have been granted a Richard Claude Mankin scholarship from the University of Sydney to support my PhD study.

During my honours study in RMIT, I received the ICE-EM/AMSI summer vacation scholarship and gave a presentation of my honours project in the CSIRO Bid-day-out event.



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