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Ms Robyn Scott

profile_scott_thumbMs Robyn Scott
PhD student

Topic: effects of variable retention harvesting on productivity and growth in wet eucalypt forests

University of Tasmania

Under the Tasmanian Community Forestry Agreement, the Tasmanian government committed to using non-clearfell methods on 80 per cent of old growth coupes in State forests by 2010. Variable retention harvesting using aggregated retention (ARN) systems has been chosen as the most feasible alternative to clearfelling in old growth wet eucalypt forests, and is now being implemented operationally in forests across the State.

Aggregated retention retains patches of the original forest within the coupe boundary over the next rotation to maintain late-successional species and structures important for biodiversity. These retained trees are expected to have a suppressive effect on the regenerating stand, while the higher edge:area ratio of ARN coupes makes them difficult to burn and may lead to increased browsing pressure. ARN harvesting may also increase negative impacts on the soil due to more constrained harvesting patterns, and the practice of putting firebreaks or access tracks around aggregates. All of these factors may lead to reduced seedling establishment and growth and lower productivity under this silvicultural system.

My research will address the following questions:

  • Can we successfully regenerate operational aggregated retention coupes?
  • What impact do retained aggregates/edges have on eucalypt growth and productivity in the short-term.

I came to Tasmania from the coastal temperate rainforests of British Columbia, Canada. In 2005, I completed a Master’s in Forest Science at the University of British Columbia, which looked at windthrow following variable retention harvesting on Vancouver Island. I also spent several years working for research organisations and as a consultant in Clayoquot Sound. I came to Hobart in October of 2006 to take up a full-time position with Forestry Tasmania (FT), and am excited by the opportunity and challenge of completing a part-time PhD based on my research work for FT.

My supervisors are Dr Mark Hovenden (University of Tasmania), Mark Neyland (Forestry Tasmania) and Dr Stephen Mitchell (University of Columbia).

This project is part of the CRC for Forestry Biodiversity Project (Project 4.2), subproject 4.2.1 on the biodiversity benefits of alternatives to clearfelling.

To browse other PhD projects available with the Biodiversity Project, click here