Doctor Rachael Nolan

Dr Rachael Nolan joined the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) in February 2018. She currently works with Assoc. Prof Matthias Boer in the Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub, which is a collaboration between four universities working closely with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Her research is focused on developing models of forest flammability due to dynamics in fuel loads and moisture content, and quantifying fire effects on carbon storage and sequestration in forests and woodlands. This research builds on prior research Dr Nolan undertook jointly with HIE and the University of Wollongong under the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre project “2009 Black Saturday and other large fire events – moisture conditions project”.

Prior to her recent appointment at HIE, Dr Nolan was a post-doctoral research at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). While at UTS, she undertook research focused on assessing risks to carbon sequestration and storage in forests and woodlands due to disturbances such as fire, drought and grazing. Dr Nolan also undertook research in central Australia, on the project “Comparative eco-physiology of two contrasting arid-zone woodlands in Central Australia: Hydrological niche separation and ecosystem resilience”.

Dr Nolan was awarded her PhD in 2013 from The University of Melbourne. Her PhD research focused on the effects of bushfires on rates of evapotranspiration and catchment water yield in Melbourne’s water-supply catchments.

Areas of research/teaching expertise

Fire ecology, plant ecology, plant ecophysiology, ecohydrology

Awards and recognition
  • Awarded two Melbourne School of Land and Environment publishing awards (2014) for publication of PhD research.
  • SF Ponds Travelling Scholarship (2012).
  • The University of Melbourne travel scholarship (2012).
  • Australian Postgraduate Award (2009-2012).
  • Melbourne Water PhD stipend top-up (2009-2012).

Innovations Connections research grant for the research project ‘Novel methods for monitoring carbon storage in forests and woodlands’ (2018).

Selected publications

Nolan RH, Drew DM, O'Grady AP, Pinkard EA, Paul K, Roxburgh SH, Mitchell PJ, Bruce J, Battaglia M, Ramp D, (2018) 'Safeguarding reforestation efforts against changes in climate and disturbance regimes', Forest Ecology and Management, vol.424, pp 458-467

Nolan RH, Sinclair J, Eldridge DJ, Ramp D, (2018) 'Biophysical risks to carbon sequestration and storage in Australian drylands', Journal of Environmental Management, vol.208, pp 102-111

Nolan RH, Tarin T, Rumman R, Cleverly J, Fairweather KA, Zolfaghar S, Santini NS, O'Grady AP, Eamus D, (2018) 'Contrasting ecophysiology of two widespread arid zone tree species', Journal of Arid Environments, vol.153, pp 1-10

Nolan RH, Vesk PA, Robinson D, (2018) 'Recovery potential of microwetlands from agricultural land uses', Ecological Management & Restoration, vol.19, pp 81-84

Rumman R, Cleverly J, Nolan RH, Tarin T, Eamus D, (2018) 'Speculations on the application of foliar( 13)C discrimination to reveal groundwater dependency of vegetation and provide estimates of root depth and rates of groundwater use', Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, vol.22, no.9, pp 4875-4889

Santini NS, Cleverly J, Faux R, McBean K, Nolan RH, Eamus D, (2018) 'Root xylem characteristics and hydraulic strategies of species co-occurring in semi-arid Australia', IAWA Journal, vol.39, no.1, pp 43-62

Nolan RH, Tarin T, Santini NS, McAdam SAM, Ruman R, Eamus D, (2017) 'Differences in osmotic adjustment, foliar abscisic acid dynamics, and stomatal regulation between an isohydric and anisohydric woody angiosperm during drought', Plant Cell and Environment, vol.40, pp 3122-3134

Boer MM, Nolan RH, De Dios VR, Clarke H, Price OF, Bradstock RA, (2017) 'Changing Weather Extremes Call for Early Warning of Potential for Catastrophic Fire', Earths Future, vol.5, pp 1196-1202

Nolan RH, Tarin T, Fairweather KA, Cleverly J, Eamus D, (2017) 'Variation in photosynthetic traits related to access to water in semiarid Australian woody species', Functional Plant Biology, vol.44, pp 1087-1097

Nolan RH, Fairweather KA, Tarin T, Santini NS, Cleverly J, Faux R, Eamus D, (2017) 'Divergence in plant water-use strategies in semiarid woody species', Functional Plant Biology, vol.44, pp 1134-1146

Benyon RG, Nolan RH, Hawthorn SND, Lane PNJ, (2017) 'Stand-level variation in evapotranspiration in non-water-limited eucalypt forests', Journal of Hydrology, vol.551, pp 233-244

Tong XJ, Li J, Nolan RH, Yu Q, (2017) 'Biophysical controls of soil respiration in a wheat-maize rotation system in the North China Plain', Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, vol.246, pp 231-240

Nolan RH, de Dios VR, Boer MM, Caccamo G, Goulden ML, Bradstock RA, (2016) 'Predicting dead fine fuel moisture at regional scales using vapour pressure deficit from MODIS and gridded weather data', Remote Sensing of Environment, vol.174, pp 100-108

Nolan RH, Boer MM, Resco de Dios V, Caccamo G, Bradstock RA, (2016) 'Large-scale, dynamic transformations in fuel moisture drive wildfire activity across southeastern Australia', Geophysical Research Letters, vol.43, pp 4229-4238

Eamus D, Huete A, Cleverly J, Nolan RH, Ma XL, Tarin T, Santini NS, (2016) 'Mulga, a major tropical dry open forest of Australia: recent insights to carbon and water fluxes', Environmental Research Letters, vol.11, p 18

Resco de Dios V, Fellows AW, Nolan RH, Boer MM, Bradstock RA, Domingo F, Goulden ML, (2015) 'A semi-mechanistic model for predicting the moisture content of fine litter', Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, vol.203, pp 64-73

Nolan RH, Lane PNJ, Benyon RG, Bradstock RA, Mitchell PJ, (2015) 'Trends in evapotranspiration and streamflow following wildfire in resprouting eucalypt forests', Journal of Hydrology, vol.524, pp 614-624

Nolan RH, Mitchell PJ, Bradstock RA, Lane PNJ, (2014) 'Structural adjustments in resprouting trees drive differences in post-fire transpiration', Tree Physiology, vol.34, pp 123-136

Nolan RH, Lane PNJ, Benyon RG, Bradstock RA, Mitchell PJ, (2014) 'Changes in evapotranspiration following wildfire in resprouting eucalypt forests', Ecohydrology, vol.7, pp 1363-1377

Vesk PA, Nolan R, Thomson JR, Dorrough JW, Mac Nally R, (2008) 'Time lags in provision of habitat resources through revegetation', Biological Conservation, vol.141, pp 174-186