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Dynamics of litterfall and fine fuels after fire in sclerophyll forests and woodlands.


Litterfall is a dynamic process and subject to major seasonal variation.  In eucalypt forests and woodlands, droughts may induce significant (e.g. +50%) increases in annual litterfall in any given year, contributing greatly to fire risks. Litter accumulation and thus its contribution to the fine fuel load, is dependent on the balance of litter inputs and losses via heterotrophic respiration (litter decomposition). Heterotrophic microorganisms are frequently limited by nutrients, especially in Australian soils. This project will be supervised by Dr Tina Bell with Dr Meaghan Jenkins and Professor Mark Adams from the University of Sydney  


Professor Mark Adams.

Research location

Sydney Institute of Agriculture - Australian Technology Park

Program type



This project will use field sites in Low Elevation Mixed Species and High Elevation Mixed Species forests in Vic, NSW and the ACT. The seasonal dynamics of litterfall and heterotrophic respiration will be studied using controlled experimental approaches, with a view to developing new models of litter accumulation that better reflect environmental; conditions than current, outdated equilibrium’ models.

The roles of water and nutrient availability will be a primary focus, along with extensive studies of the relationship of litterfall to overstorey and understorey productivity.

Additional information

The Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre and the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Sydney, are pleased to announce full ($28K) and top-up ($10K) scholarships for students interested in researching key issues for fire-fighting and land management agencies around Australia.
HDR Inherent Requirements
In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

Want to find out more?

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1113

Other opportunities with Professor Mark Adams