Transforming Forest Value in Tasmania

Sascha Wise, Technical Officer, University of Tasmania, and Dr Tanya Bailey, Restoration Ecologist, ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Forest Value measuring tree growth on a Greening Australia biodiverse carbon site

A multimillion dollar Forestry Industry Transformation Centre has been officially opened in Tasmania. The Australia Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Forest Value is based at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) with the aim of producing graduates who will drive change and increase the value of wood products.

The centre is a partnership between UTAS, Greening Australia, Forestry Tasmania, Forico, Prefab Lab, Island Workshop Architecture, Forest and Wood Products Australia, Neville Smith Forest Products and SMF Environmental Solutions. The Centre will integrate forest production, restoration and manufacturing training and research to support an industry repositioning itself and improving landscape-management.

Attending the launch of the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre were from Left to Right: Jonathan Duddles, Director of Strategic Engagement, Greening Australia; Dr Tanya Bailey, Restoration Ecologist, Greening Australia; Professor Mark Hunt, Deputy Director of the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Forest Value; Dr Neil Davidson, Restoration Ecologist, Greening Australia and ARC Centre for Forest Value Advisory Committee.

Greening Australia’s involvement is seen as important, as restoration and landscape management is vital for well-functioning multi-use landscapes. The centres’ defined project areas include sustainable forest production and certification, and the establishment and management of complex plant communities in challenging environments.

Peter Harrison, PhD candidate and Brad Potts, Professor of Forest Genetics UTAS, assessing pedigree eucalypt seedlings in readiness for planting.

Dr Tanya Bailey is a Restoration Ecologist with Greening Australia and a Postdoctoral research fellow at the new Centre. She will supervise several PHD student projects in restoration ecology as well as undertaking her own program of research to further our knowledge of restoration in challenging landscapes.

This research will continue to develop our capability in direct seeding to improve species mix, selection of genetics and better understand what conditions are needed to ensure success in our changing landscape. “Successful direct seeding practices need to reflect the regional environment” says Tanya, who adds, “not a lot of research in this area has been undertaken in Tasmania. Part of my research will focus on controlling insects to improve germination of mixed species.”

The value of this research is vital for our ability to adaptively manage our projects in the face of climate change. Potential topics for PhD projects include Recreating structure and function in restored woodlands, The role of fire in restoration and The business case for restoration on farms. Details of all PhD projects on offer can be found on the centre’s website. The students will be based for half their time at partner organisations including Greening Australia.

The Forestry Industry Transformation Centre will bring through the next generation of forestry professionals, managers and research leaders and expose people to the industry as a whole.

The centre itself is exciting to be involved in as we’ll be working with, and improving, communication between the different parts of the industry so we can learn from each other.There is a lot of knowledge we can share and have a better integration of our approach to growing trees in the landscape.” said Dr Bailey.