Dr Tina Bell joined the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment as Senior Lecturer in Fire Ecology in March 2010. Prior to this appointment she worked in Victoria in the areas of fire ecology and plant physiology, firstly as a researcher with the Victorian Department of Environment and Sustainability and then as Senior Research Fellow in the School of Forest and Ecosystem Science at the University of Melbourne.
As an undergraduate she studied botany and zoology at the University of Western Australia. Her research career began with a PhD investigating the fire response and mycorrhizal associations of Australian heaths (Ericaceae). During postdoctoral studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, her research broadened to encompass the fire response of African heaths (Ericaceae) and nutrient acquisition of rushes (Restionaceae) and grasses (Poaceae). On her return to Western Australia she continued her postdoctoral studies by investigating mycorrhizal associations in pine plantations and nutrient exchange in parasitic plants.
Tina is a Project Leader in the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and was involved in the preceding Bushfire CRC. Current bushfire research being done by the Fire group explores the effect of fire size on carbon, water and vegetation structure and composition. Work is also continuing on quantifying the amount and type of emissions in smoke from bushfires and the production and consumption of pyrogenic carbon after prescribed fire.
Tina also contributes to other research groups that have attracted competitive funding in areas as diverse as increasing the productivity of cultivated button mushrooms and the control of Salmonella in chicken manure in small-scale farming systems. Tina currently supervises six postgraduate students and has had 11 students successfully complete their postgraduate studies. She has supervised over a dozen Honours and 4th year undergraduate research projects.
The highlight of Tina’s research career so far was the award of an American-Australian Fulbright Professional Scholarship in 2009. Her project explored changes to and recovery of key physiological processes of grapevines exposed to smoke through physiological measures under controlled laboratory conditions. She undertook this research at the University of California, Berkeley in late 2009 and she recently had a PhD student complete a study in this area of research. She was also awarded a travel scholarship in 2012 by the Gottstein Foundation. This award allowed her to travel to the west coast of the US to gather information about tertiary-level fire education to compare to what is on offer in Australia.
The predictive model developed by this project will quantify the optimisation of environmental service outcomes for water and carbon management against the effectiveness of the fuel reductions outputs. This will assist fire and land management agencies by giving them greater confidence in forecasting results for their actions.
Ultimately, this project will move research and management capabilities to its next logical focus – building a predictive model and framework for planning of prescribed burns.
Optimising fuel reduction burning at the landscape- or catchment-scale requires knowledge of the effects of fire size on key variables – Fuel load, Vegetation and Carbon and Water cycles.
Optimisation of prescribed burning requires a strong understanding of the underlying variability of fuel, vegetation and soil.
This project focuses on improving the capability of land managers to use prescribed fire to reduce fuel loads, while at the same time mitigating the risks of loss of water yield and carbon sequestration capacity.
This research project will analyse the relationships among bushfires and prescribed fires, soil carbon, forested catchments and water quality.
Soil organic matter has strong effects on soil properties such as water holding capacity, soil structure and stability, nutrient availability and cation exchange capacity. Bushfire can change these properties depending on intensity and duration of heating. Pyrolysis coupled to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (pyr-GC-MS) is a novel technique that can been used for soil characterisation.
Wildfire removes the surface vegetation, releases ash, increases erosion and runoff, and therefore effects the hydrological cycle of a forested water catchment. It is important to understand changes in water quality in fire‐impacted catchments and how they recover post‐fire.
|Presentation-Slideshow||18 Mar 2014||Optimisation of Fuel Reduction Burning Regimes||Save (606.43 KB)||fuel reduction, greenhouse gases, prescribed burning|
|Presentation-Slideshow||21 Mar 2014||Optimisation of fuel reduction burning regimes for fuel reduction, carbon, water and vegetation outcomes||Save (606.43 KB)||fuel reduction, greenhouse gases, prescribed burning|
|Presentation-Slideshow||04 Dec 2014||Optimising fuel reduction burning||Save (605.15 KB)||fire, fuel reduction, prescribed burning|
|HazardNoteEdition||02 Feb 2016||Research for better land management||Save (133.76 KB)||fuel reduction, land management, prescribed burning|