From our Director:
Welcome to the March edition of our newsletter for 2021.
Although 2021 marks the final year of the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Forest Value (CFV) we have a lot of research still ongoing with six PhD students expected to finish their projects this year.
We are continuing to see some great examples of research that provides impact for the forest industries. This newsletter highlights three examples of this research and the recognition that our Centre PhD candidates are receiving.
Our first story features the exciting developments in tree canopy sampling using drones. This work is being undertaken by Sean Krisanski who has been utilising his 2020 Science and Innovation Award from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to complete his project which you can read about below.
Michelle Balasso was also recently recognised for her PhD research investigating high value products from Tasmanian eucalypts. Michelle is one of two Australian nominations for an International Council of Forest and Paper Associations Blue Sky Award. We congratulate Michelle on this nomination and wish her luck at the international announcements.
Our final story focuses on Nick Camarretta who completed his PhD in 2020 and has secured a job as a research scientist in Germany. Nick’s work has provided the industry with a new way of assessing the success of forest restoration plantings using remote sensing. Nick’s work has also had a significant scientific impact, with a recent publication receiving a ‘highly cited’ rating.
We hope you enjoy reading about the Centre’s research and hearing about our PhD candidates’ achievements in this edition of the newsletter and we look forward to bringing you additional updates throughout the year.
Associate Professor Julianne O’Reilly-Wapstra, Director ARC Training Centre for Forest Value
Need foliar samples? Robots are rising to the challenge
At the start of 2020, CFV PhD Candidate Sean Krisanski received a Science and Innovation Award for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry from the Australian Government and Forest and Wood Products Australia(FWPA).
These awards provide $22,000 of funding for innovative research programs that benefit rural industries such as forestry.
Sean is approaching the end of his project which aimed to use drones to make canopy leaf sampling accessible by greatly reducing the cost, time and risk required.
“Foliar samples are important for understanding and monitoring tree nutrition and health. however, collecting these samples is currently challenging, dangerous and expensive. As a result, the use of canopy samples is often restricted to small trees which can be reached with pole saws or limited by the high costs and risks of arborist access.” Sean said.
‘While it may take an arborist in the order of 30 minutes to several hours to collect samples from a single tree, results from this research have shown that a drone can collect multiple samples from different locations in the tree in just minutes.”
Sean also highlighted that his project went beyond what had been previously demonstrated in drone studies.
“Our approach differs by enabling physical interaction with almost any part of the tree, not just the top. We are also building the capability to perform other physical interactions with the tree, such as deploying and retrieving Internet-of-Things devices in the canopy, that are used for wildlife and bushfire monitoring applications."
During the project Sean designed, constructed and tested drones and their specialised equipment in order to optimise their canopy sampling capabilities. Sean has finished the testing phase of the study and the results will soon be ready for publication.
Michelle Balasso secures nomination for Blue Sky Innovation Award
Nicolò Camarretta (Nick) is now settled into his new research job in Germany after completing his PhD with the Centre for Forest Value (CFV). Nicks’ project adapted remote sensing techniques for use in assessing forest restoration and his work has provided a valuable contribution to the field.
Nick started his time with the CFV in 2016, arriving from Italy where he had worked as a research fellow at the Forest Geomatics Lab in Arezzo and completed his Master of Forestry at the University of Florence.
Nick was attracted to the project on offer from the CFV as he was interested in exploring and contributing to the field of ecological restoration.