News

From the Ground Up - Research in the High Country and the Monaro


27 November 2012

Professor Mark Adams, who will be leading Wednesday's forum
Professor Mark Adams, who will be leading Wednesday's forum

From carbon cycles to cattle movements, from soils to shrub growth, and from water cycles to willow tree management, find out about the research being conducted in the Monaro and High Country by the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney at a special forum "From the Ground Up" to be held on Wednesday 28 November in Cooma.

Of interest to everyone living and working in the Monaro and High Country area, the forum is a free half-day showcase of the research undertaken in the area and how it contributes to sustainable practices and impacts regional development.

The forum will be led by Professor Mark Adams, the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney, who will speak about the Faculty's vision for research in the High Country area, as well as detailing results from his research on temperature and soil respiration, plus his progress report on grazing and burning on the Snowy Plains.

In addition to Professor Adams' presentations, the forum will feature talks from five other members of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment who conduct research in the Monaro and High Country area.

"This forum is a really important chance for the local community to find out about the research being conducted here in the Monaro and High Country, and some of the important results coming out of that research," said Professor Mark Adams.

"Our team will be presenting our results on work including research on soil carbon, carbon and water cycles, greenhouse gas emissions, catchment hydrology, plant physiology, biodiversity and animal behavior."

Dr Tarryn Turnbull, research fellow in ecophysiology, will present her work on 'Remarkable photosynthesis and growth of understorey shrubs'. Dr Robert Simpson, research fellow in the Faculty's Plant Breeding Institute, will present his research on 'Carbon and water fluxes on the high plain'. Dr Lachlan Ingram, senior research fellow in sustainable grassland management the Plant Breeding Institute, will talk about 'Cattle movements on the Snowy Plains'.

Two PhD students will present at the forum: Joseph Henry on his research on 'Willow removal: scientific evidence to justify costly management' and Mana Gharun on her work on 'Water use of eucalypt forests in the high country'.

"I'll be sharing the results of our study on cattle grazing in an alpine environment, with a study conducted on a private property that borders Kosciuzko National Park in southern NSW," said Dr Lachlan Ingram.

"Grazing of cattle in the high country of south-eastern Australia during summer and early-autumn has historically played an important role in allowing resting of pastures in lower lying regions. There are, however, remarkably few sound scientific studies undertaken to determine how cattle graze in these areas and thus where their impact may be greatest," explained Dr Ingram.

"Our study is determining the grazing patterns of a commercial beef herd grazing in the high country using GPS enabled tracking collars. Moreover, because of the nature of vegetation types, steepness of the terrain and predominantly southerly aspect, we will be able to get a much better handle on when and where cattle actually graze in an alpine landscape - information which we currently do not have," said Dr Ingram.

"This information in conjunction with data being collected from the High Fire project, will allow us to develop a much more integrated picture of the relationship between grazing, vegetation and alpine landscapes."

At the end of the presentations and before the forum lunch, an agreement will be signed between the McCaughey Memorial Institute and the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment for a gift to the Faculty to support a new program for Sustainable Animal Production to begin at the University in 2013. The new program will provide education, research and outreach that focuses on addressing greenhouse gas emissions from animal production - one of the key environmental concerns relating to animal production in Australia.


From the Ground Up - Research in the High Country and the Monaro:
Date: Wednesday 28 November 2012
Time: 9:30am-1.30pm
Location: Cooma Ex-Services Club, 106 Vale Street, Cooma, NSW.
Cost: Free
Contact: Email agriculture.admin@sydney.edu.au or phone: (02) 8627 1000.