Research leader

A/Prof J. Doland Nichols Research Leader
Dr Heidi Zimmer Research Leader

Nine experimental permanent sample plots were established in Whian Whian SCA (previously Whian Whian State Forest), north of Lismore NSW, in 1939, as part of a silvicultural systems project focused on Eucalyptus pilularis. These plots are 30 m x 30 m. Foresters implemented different levels of thinning as well as leaving an unthinned area in 1958. The trial area burned in the fires of October 2019, removing most of the understorey of shrubs and rainforest trees.  Most canopy E. pilularis trees appear to be reviving from epicormic shoots. 

This project is being completed with the support of the CRC's funding for quick response. It assesses the severity of bushfire impacts on vegetation in previously marked permanent sample plots and investigates relationships between severity and stem density. Researchers wll also record regeneration of species, especially E. pilularis, remark permanent sample plots, retag individually tagged trees, and establish subplots for monitoring seedlings. 

Findings from this research will help understand the impact of fire severity on Eucalyptus piluaris, an important species both for timber production and biodiversity conservation. This research project adds significant value to a long-term dataset by providing a timely assessment of fire impacts. It is intended that monitoring of these plots is continued so that responses (including and resprouting, but also seedling growth and survival) to this fire can be assessed over the long term. Further, the fate of some less dominant species, which are of key importance to fauna, will be assessed post-fire.  These include Lophostemon confertus, Syncarpia glomulifera, Callitris endlicheri and Casuarina spp, an important food source for cockatoos.