Peter Gunnersen, Chairman of the J. W. Gottstein Memorial Trust Fund, has announced the award of five Gottstein Fellowships and one Skill Advancement Award for 2009, and World Forest Institute Fellowships for 2009 and 2010.
Jeremy Brawner, who is the Stream Leader, Integrative Tree Biology, for CSIRO Plant Industry, located in St Lucia, Queensland, plans to travel to the USA and Argentina to study silvicultural systems that provide alternatives to those existing in Australia. His objective is to gain an understanding of data requirements and empirical methods needed to undertake economic evaluations of alternative silvicultural systems that have the potential to move the Australian forest industry away from commodity production towards more sophisticated industries.
Brawner seeks to compare two alternative silvicultural systems to the existing chip export segment of the Australian industry, and to provide statistics for key economic drivers required to evaluate their potential for Australia. He plans to review the methodologies used to compare the economics of alternative forest production systems, and he will provide a comparison of key traits with potential to improve biofuel processes currently in use in southern USA, and protocols for rapidly evaluating wood quality characteristics of importance to sold wood production.
Elizabeth Hamilton, Senior Bioenergy Industry Officer, DPI Victoria, Gellibrand River, VIC, plans to study the use of woody biomass in small-scale bioenergy production systems in western USA and Canada, and opportunities for small entrepreneurial groups and syndicates, such as farm foresters, to market their woody biomass. She aims to focus her studies in localities similar to those in Australia, in terms of climate, land use, legislation or public support, but where significant advancements in bioenergy technology will provide useful information to the Australian industry.
She intends to review relevant policy and regulations and the federal, state and local level relating to the use of woody biomass for bioenergy production, community attitudes to the use of wood for bioenergy, and the various public education programs that have been successful in promoting bioenergy systems. Her work will also investigate the types of bioenergy systems that are being constructed for various types and sizes of processing plants.
Andrew Nicholls, who is the Manager of the Truck Safety Project, Forests NSW, Tumut, NSW, will travel to the USA and New Zealand to investigate contracting systems used there to develop an improved system of risk quantification (risk sharing and risk clarification) for managing safety in forest operations. The need for the study has evolved with the trend to outsource operational works, the move towards delivered sales arrangements, downward pressure on commodity prices, and increasingly litigious business contracting arrangements, particularly in regard to OH&S. These factors all contribute to increased financial risk on both the principal and the contractor. Both parties end up insuring against this risk, and yet may not adequately understand their liabilities. It is anticipated that the study will point the way for improved forest work and safety management practices in Australia.
Jorge Ramos, Enterprise Development Officer, Forests NSW, based in Thurgoona, NSW, will use his Fellowship to gather information on world-leading best practices and procedures for sustainable harvesting of forest residues (biomass) from planted forests. He plans to visit Brazil, Canada and Sweden to document current mechanisms being used (certification standards, code of practice, etc) that ensure forest productivity is not compromised as a result of excessive harvesting of residual material. He will also investigate non-conventional harvesting techniques used to achieve sustainable harvesting. His study will include harvesting of material in managed native forests, as most extraction of residues occur in this type of forest.
Dr Sandra Roberts is a Research Officer in Forest Hydrology with Forestry Tasmania, located in Hobart. She will travel to the USA to analyse hydrological data from the Warra Long Term Ecological Research project in Tasmania, and to visit three on-going LTER projects that have been in place for a longer period, involving a larger number of researchers. She anticipates that the methods that have been developed with those projects will be very useful to apply to the stream flow and water quality data collected at Warra over the last 10 years.
Gottstein Skill Advancement Award
Robyne Bancroft, Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Officer with Forests NSW in Coffs Harbour, will use her Award to travel to New Zealand to study best-practice models of Maori forestry partnerships to assist in identifying opportunities for partnerships in Australia for forestry, carbon trading, or non-timber activities such as ecotourism, bush tucker, or cultural heritage management. The information obtained will assist in benefiting the Aboriginal community by increasing awareness, initiative, motivation and opportunity. It is anticipated that successful forestry initiatives will be able to be presented to the Aboriginal community.
World Forest Institute Fellowships
Roslyn Henricks is the recipient of the 2009 WFI Fellowship, in Portland, Oregon, USA. She graduated BSc (Forestry and BA (Visual Arts) from the Australian National University, and has been working as a Project Forester with Green Triangle Forest Products in Mt Gambier, SA. Her study at the WFI will work towards improving public perceptions and encouraging sustainable timber communities by understanding and shaping aesthetic values in plantation forest landscapes. It will add to an information base for planners responsible for sustainable forest development in Australia as part of the 202 Vision. In addition, the study will assist forest managers address recognition of aesthetic values under the Australian Forestry Standard and Forest Stewardship Council.
Sue Baker will undertake her WFI Fellowship in 2010. She graduated BForSc from the University of Melbourne, and BSc (1st Class Hons) and PhD from the University of Tasmania, and is currently employed as a Research Officer with Forestry Tasmania in Hobart. Her study project will be Variable Retention Silviculture, where she plans to compare biodiversity research management practices in Tasmania with those in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. The primary objective of her project will be to gain a detailed understanding of how biodiversity research, adaptive management of operational Variable Retention practise in the Pacific Northwest.
Tim Sanders has been awarded an additional WFI Fellowship for 2010. He holds a BForSc (Hons) and a Graduate DipEd from the University of Melbourne, and is a Senior Forester in Silviculture with VicForests, Central Highlands Region. His project will explore adjustments to silviculture practices of commercial organisations in response to climate change. With weather patterns changing dramatically in some regions, notably rainfall and temperature, the climatic spectrum within which various commercially-important tree species have evolved and adapted is rapidly shifting. Forestry companies need to be aware of and respond to these changes to ensure future survival and quality of their growing stock. Mr Sanders hopes to enhance his knowledge in the field and to use the knowledge to assist in improving silvicultural practices in Australia.