I’m an ecologist, previously working as a vegetation/restoration/fire consultant on the NSW North Coast since 1997. I’ve recently commenced a PhD (SCU Lismore) looking at the ecological consequences of fire exclusion. I’m particularly interested in landscape-scale changes to vegetation/habitat structure resulting from fire exclusion, including where canopy closure and rain forest invasion (mesophication) displaces grassy/heathy understorey habitats of open-forest.
The aims of my project are to:
** Investigate which fauna habitat attributes within open forests are most vulnerable to canopy closure and understorey displacement through survey of open-forests at different stages of transition;
** Test for positive feedbacks of declining flammability in fire-dependent open-forests subject to canopy closure & mesophication at the stand- and landscape-scale, through fire behaviour modelling.
** Examine landscape features (e.g. soil, topographical position, distance to rain forest) that influence that rate of canopy closure and mesophication in open forests, through spatial analysis of landscapes subject to widespread change since the 1960s.
I’m also involved in several restoration projects striving to restore regular fire to fire-excluded ecosystems, including in a rare heathland in transition to rain forest.