Contact Forest Industries Research Centre

Accessibility links

Contact Forest Industries Research Centre


General enquiries

Professor Mark Brown
Tel: +61 7 5459 4483
Fax: +61 7 5459 4547

Street address

Forest Industries Research Centre
Innovation Centre
University of the Sunshine Coast
90 Sippy Downs Drive 
Sippy Downs QLD 4556 Australia

Postal address

Forest Industries Research Centre (ML45)
Locked Bag 4
University of the Sunshine Coast

Our people


  • Professor Mark Brown
    Professor Mark Brown

    Director, Forest Industries Research Centre, Professor of Forestry Operations; Director, Australian Forest Operations Research Alliance (AFORA)

    Professor Mark Brown's specialist areas of knowledge include forest transport efficiency, forest supply chain management and optimisation, biomass supply chain efficiency and driving innovation from applied research


  • Dr Mauricio Acuna

    Senior Research Fellow in Forest Operations

    Dr Acuna is world leading expert in wood and biomass supply chain optimization, forest logistics, operations research, forest operations analysis, sensor technology and harvesting machine evaluation.

  • Dr R Andrew Hayes
    Dr R Andrew Hayes

    Forest Health Research Fellow

    Dr Andrew Hayes' specialist areas of knowledge include chemical communication within animal species, used for maintaining social status, and for finding mates. He also studies communication between species, used for finding food or hosts. Over the last twenty years he has studied the chemoecology of a variety of species from rabbits, lemurs and cane toads to long-horned beetles, leaf beetles, mango seed weevils and eucalypts.

  • Dr Jeremy Brawner
    Dr Jeremy Brawner

    Senior Research Fellow

    Dr Jeremy Brawner's specialists areas of knowledge include genetic improvement and data analysis applied to optimising seed production and nursery systems.

  • Professor Mark Brown
    Professor Mark Brown

    Director, Forest Industries Research Centre, Professor of Forestry Operations; Director, Australian Forest Operations Research Alliance (AFORA)

    Professor Mark Brown's specialist areas of knowledge include forest transport efficiency, forest supply chain management and optimisation, biomass supply chain efficiency and driving innovation from applied research

  • Dr Madaline Healey
    Dr Madaline Healey

    Research Fellow

    Madaline is an entomologist with a focus on integrated pest management, in particular biological control. Madaline is currently working on developing a biocontrol agent for galling insect pests of eucalypts in South East Asia and facilitating the development of smallholder agro-forestry in southern Lao PDR, using trees for fuel, food and timber.

  • Professor John Herbohn
    Professor John Herbohn

    Director, Tropical Forests and People Research Centre; Professor of Tropical Forestry

    Professor John Herbohn's specialist areas of knowledge are related to smallholder and community forestry in the tropics. He is an expert in the areas of reforestation and forest restoration, particularly the degree of reforestation programs in tropical countries using mixed-species reforestation approaches that can form part of the livelihood strategies of smallholders and communities. Professor Herbohn also has an interest in rainforest ecology, especially in the area of forest recovery following selective logging. In addition, he is currently a non-executive director for a NZ forestry company.

  • Dr Simon Lawson
  • Associate Professor David Lee
    Associate Professor David Lee

    Associate Professor, Plant Genetics

    David leads the hardwood domestication and tree improvement program in Queensland focusing on spotted gums, Queensland sandalwood, Gympie messmate and lemon myrtle. He also leads a large FWPA funded project, characterising the wood properties of the southern pine (Pinus elliottii, P. caribaea and their hybrids).

  • Rick Mitchell
    Rick Mitchell

    Senior Research Assistant, AFORA

  • Dr Helen Nahrung
    Dr Helen Nahrung

    Forest Health Senior Research Fellow

    Dr Helen Nahrung is a forest entomologist whose research areas include insect–plant interactions; insect biology, physiology and ecology; pest management; biological control; chemical ecology; and biosecurity.

  • Dr Mohammad Reza Ghaffariyan
    Dr Mohammad Reza Ghaffariyan

    Research Fellow (Forestry)

    Dr Mohammad Ghaffariyan’s specialist area of knowledge include sustainable forest management, forest harvesting planning and optimisation, timber transportation planning, forest biomass utilisation for bioenergy purposes, and forestry road network planning.

  • Martin Strandgard

    Senior Research Fellow, AFORA

Adjunct members

The Forest Industries Research Centre includes local and international adjuncts across industry and academia. These adjunct staff complement the team and provide expert advice and mentoring across the teams: centre strategy; research grant applications and programs; career development and training; scholarly publications; industry bulletins and reports.

The Centre's adjunct staff perform an integral role to the success of the centre and its ability to grow and increase social, environmental and economic impact on a local and global scale across the forestry value chain.

  • Dr Muhammad Alam, Adjunct Research Fellow (Forestry)
  • Mark Annandale, Adjunct Research Fellow (Land rehabilitation and biodiversity management)
  • Grahame Applegate, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow (Forestry and natural resources)
  • Dr Jeremy Brawner, Adjunct Senior Researcher (Forestry)
  • David Coote, Adjunct Research Fellow (Forestry)
  • Justine Edwards, Adjunct Research Fellow (Industrial plantation management)
  • Dr Kevin Harding, Adjunct Research Professor (Wood quality, forest management and forest genetics)
  • Professor Stephen Harrison, Adjunct Research Professor (Forestry)
  • Dr Lastus Soudan Kuniata, Adjunct Research Fellow (Agricultural research)
  • Professor David Lamb, Adjunct Research Professor (Forest restoration and rehabilitation)
  • Paul MacDonell, Adjunct Research Fellow (Forestry)
  • Dr Natascia Magagnotti, Adjunct Researcher (Forestry)
  • Dr Roger Meder, Adjunct Research Professor (Magnetic resonance and biophysics) 
  • Luke Mirowski, Adjunct Research Fellow (Forestry)
  • Dr Tony Page, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow (Tropical forestry)
  • Dr Gianni Picchi, Adjunct Researcher (Forestry)
  • Dr Mervyn Shepherd, Adjunct Research Fellow (Forestry)
  • Dr Raffaele Spinelli, Adjunct Research Professor (Forestry)
  • Dr Lex Thomson, Adjunct Associate Professor (Tropical forestry and agroforestry systems)
  • Mr William Unsworth, Adjunct Research Fellow (Oil palm, sugar cane and beef production and processing)
  • Professor Jerry Vanclay, Adjunct Research Professor (Forestry)
  • Dr Paul Warburton, Adjunct Researcher (Forestry)

The FIRC leadership team is focused on the establishment of strong partnerships and networks with its collaborators and industry. The composition of the Centre's leadership team also demonstrates its commitment to the whole of forestry value chain approach and thus provides an excellent platform to establish a strong research, development and engagement role with real impact locally, nationally and internationally. This expert panel includes:

Professor Mark Brown (Director)

Professor Mark Brown is managing and using his extensive experience to support the FIRC research team to form a critical mass of integrated research expertise in forestry for both Queensland and Australia.

Dr Kevin Harding

Kevin is a forester (ANU, 1975–78) who has worked in wood quality improvement research since 1979. He has a PhD in Forest Genetics from North Carolina State University (1991-95) and he led plantation wood research research and development teams in Queensland from 1983 to 2012. His research interests in tree improvement and wood quality of plantations continue as a USC adjunct and as a consultant through many international linkages and especially on plantation eucalypt research in southern China.

Dr Roger Meder

Dr Roger Meder has an interest in developing tools to rapidly assess the quality of wood and other lingo-cellulosic biomass (for example, wheat and sugarcane). In particular, he focuses on commercially useful properties of wood such as stiffness, durability and pulp yield. To do this Roger has particular expertise in near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and imaging (MRI).

Dr Helen Nahrung

Dr Helen Nahrung has over 15 years’ experience working on pest insect biology and ecology towards sustainable pest management methods in plantation forestry. Her research focus is primarily on insect-plant co-evolutionary interactions, including host location mechanisms and host defence. Helen works part-time between the USC Sippy Downs campus and the EcoSciences Precinct in Brisbane on several projects in hardwood, softwood and high-value timber plantations from Stanthorpe to the tropics, including chemical ecology, invasive insects, biological control, and population modelling.

Dr David Lee

Dr David Lee leads the Hardwood Tree Improvement Focus within the Horticulture and Forestry Science group of Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). David’s tree improvement and taxa site matching research has resulted in a change in the hardwood tree varieties grown and the regions being developed for hardwood plantations in Queensland. He has extensive collaborative links with the plantation industry, other researched providers, the university sector and the international plantation forestry sector.

Kelly Murphy, Program Manager (Forest Industries Research Centre)

Kelly joined the Forest Industries Research Centre as Program Manager in 2018. In this role Kelly:

  • supports the Centre’s researchers to identify and develop significant research opportunities,
  • coordinates the submission of funding applications,
  • provides local post-award management,
  • establishes and manages strategic partnerships,
  • delivers professional development activities, and
  • supports the Centre Director and other Centre staff in other research-related pursuits.

Kelly is also Program Manager for the Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems.

Michelle Tapp, Research Officer (Forest Industries Research Centre)

Michelle works part-time for the Forest Industries Research Centre to support:

  • Coordination of manuscript submissions to the Australian Forestry Journal
  • Coordination of the Forests for the Future Seminar Series
  • Other project related work to support the Centre Director and researchers across the centre
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