Graduated Research Masters (Honours) 2015
Quantifying post-fire recovery of forest canopy structure and its environmental drivers using satellite image time-series.
Improving our understanding of the carbon cycle and its spatiotemporal variability is a major priority for environmental research and policy making. Accurate estimates of how much CO2 ecosystems can absorb are crucial for reliable projections of atmospheric CO2, future climate conditions, ecosystem services and economic viability of international carbon accounting schemes. Disturbances such as drought and fire directly influence the productive capacity of ecosystems. Changes in the frequency, intensity and duration of warm/dry weather conditions may affect fire regimes of forest ecosystems with potentially large impacts for the global carbon cycle. Post-fire recovery of ecosystem productivity depends on the intensity of disturbance, site conditions as well as environmental factors. This makes understanding of magnitude and pattern of productivity recovery very important for quantifying carbon sequestration and potential effect on climate change. In this study I aim to calibrate satellite based estimates of carbon uptake with continuous observations at several flux towers to characterise and understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of the post-fire recovery process in SE Australian forests burnt by major bushfires. I will be estimating forest canopy and carbon dynamics using MODIS images. The findings from this study will help quantify the regional forest carbon canopy and carbon dynamics.
Research Project Supervisors
Dr Matthias Boer and Dr Remko Duursma
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