Rene Van der Sant

Dr Rene Van der Sant

Completed Associate Student
About
Dr Rene Van der Sant

Rene completed her PhD in January 2016 at the University of Melbourne. Her research tested the hypothesis that landscape aridity could be used as a predictor of post-fire erosion and runoff response. Results showed increased aridity affected long and short term soil properties, which reduced infiltration capacity and increased runoff production. She now works for Melbourne Water.

Student project

This project began with the Bushfire CRC and has recently been successfully completed. With post-fire runoff and erosion highly variable and difficult to predict, this study tested the hypothesis that landscape aridity could be used as a predictor of post-fire erosion and runoff response. Results showed increased aridity affected long and short term soil properties, which reduced infiltration capacity and increased runoff production. Higher aridity areas generated more surface runoff and recovered more slowly, increasing the likelihood of high magnitude debris flows during rainfall after a fire. These findings are essential for understanding the hydrogeomorphic implications and management applications of aridity in a burnt landscape.
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