Carbon

CHAR AFTER HIGH SEVERITY WILDFIRE (photo: C. Aponte)

SAMPLING SOIL CARBON (photo: J. Najera)

MEASURING TREE CARBON (photo: M. Kohout)

TREE REGENERATION AFTER WILDFIRE (photo: L. Bennett)

The iFER Landscape Carbon project measures forest carbon in its many forms. Our principal aim is to identify risks and opportunities in maintaining Victoria’s forest carbon.

Plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and forests store a large part of land-based carbon. These carbon stores are changing all the time as plants grow and die in response to weather, to management practices, and to natural disturbances like bushfire. Knowing how much carbon is stored where, and what drives carbon store changes, is key to balancing carbon emissions and reductions, and to maintaining the vitality of our forests.

Forest carbon stores vary markedly across the landscape, so our current field-based research focuses on expanding the range of measured conditions including old growth forests, rainforests, and wet and dry eucalypt forests that have been burnt by different combinations of planned burns and wildfires.

The field data we collect form the basis of landscape-level models that allow us to explore the potential impacts of different climate, fire, and management scenarios on forest carbon stores. We are particularly interested in tree mortality and regeneration, since trees contain most of the carbon, and will capture most of the future carbon. We are also interested in how forest carbon varies with other forest values like biodiversity and water.

Our research will help forest managers to analyse the potential effects of disturbance and management regimes on forest carbon and growth, and to make decisions about the best strategies to conserve forest carbon into the future.

Please contact us (Lauren Bennett, Cristina Aponte) for more information about the iFER Landscape Carbon project, and to enquire about collaborative research and student research opportunities.

 

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