Dynamics of litterfall and fine fuels after fire in sclerophyll forests and woodlands.

Summary

Litterfall is a dynamic process and subject to major seasonal variation.  In eucalypt forests and woodlands, droughts may induce significant (e.g. +50%) increases in annual litterfall in any given year, contributing greatly to fire risks. Litter accumulation and thus its contribution to the fine fuel load, is dependent on the balance of litter inputs and losses via heterotrophic respiration (litter decomposition). Heterotrophic microorganisms are frequently limited by nutrients, especially in Australian soils. This project will be supervised by Dr Tina Bell with Dr Meaghan Jenkins and Professor Mark Adams from the University of Sydney  

Supervisor(s)

Professor Mark Adams

Research Location

Agriculture and Environment - Australian Technology Park

Program Type

PHD

Synopsis

This project will use field sites in Low Elevation Mixed Species and High Elevation Mixed Species forests in Vic, NSW and the ACT. The seasonal dynamics of litterfall and heterotrophic respiration will be studied using controlled experimental approaches, with a view to developing new models of litter accumulation that better reflect environmental; conditions than current, outdated equilibrium’ models.

The roles of water and nutrient availability will be a primary focus, along with extensive studies of the relationship of litterfall to overstorey and understorey productivity.

Additional Information

The Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre and the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Sydney, are pleased to announce full ($28K) and top-up ($10K) scholarships for students interested in researching key issues for fire-fighting and land management agencies around Australia.

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Keywords

agroecosystems, systems management, fire management, charcoal, forest regrowth, forest management, global change biology

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1113

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