Views and Visions: Posts from our People

Nathan Maddock
Senior Communications Officer


Andrew Edwards measures the diameter of a tree killed by the fire.
Andrew Edwards measures the diameter of a tree killed by the fire.

Out and about for Top End science

This time last week (it is 2:37pm as I type) I was wandering around Mataranka Station, four hours south of Darwin, looking at trees. Not my usual Friday afternoon, I can tell you, but definitely one of the better ones I’ve had. And no, I was not lost either.

I’d joined Dr Andrew Edwards and Adjunct Prof Jeremy Russell-Smith from the Savanna fire management project (as well as other CRC researchers Dr Kamalijt Sangha and PhD student Grigorijs Goldbergs) on a field trip to sample trees burnt by a high severity fire in November 2015. You can read the details about what we were doing and why here.

It was my first time being involved in work like this and I learnt a lot, not just about the trees of the area, but carbon sequestration, fire severity mapping, how to record data and how to use a GPS. Although I might not remember the scientific names for the trees that Jeremy, Andrew and Kamal were rattling off at the drop off a hat…

It goes without saying that the landscape and vegetation are a world removed from my native Victoria, and I was pretty surprised when Jeremy pointed out that trees I wouldn’t really consider to be that big, were probably 200-300 years old. And the fire we were investigating the impacts of had finished them off.

Apart from being able to play an active role in the research, there’s nothing quite like both first light and last light out in the bush. The colours, sounds, and especially in the morning for the Top End, the relative coolness of air. Special times of the day for sure.

It is great to be able to take part in science in action – thanks Andrew and Jeremy for the invite! The swim at Bitter Springs to cap off the trip wasn’t bad either. 

A pretty stock standard sunrise in the NT.
A pretty stock standard sunrise in the NT.

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