Forest ecology | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Forest ecology

Understanding the Importance of Lianas for Forest Health and Management


Understanding the importance of lianas for forest health and management. This project aims to assess the impact of lianas (woody vines) and their removal on forest health and value. New field infrastructure, removal experiments and global datasets will be used to compare forest health under varying liana dominance, determine whether lianas are preventing recovery, and to predict regional and global impacts. The project expects to generate new knowledge regarding ecosystem function and global change biology, building collaboration between ecologists, economists and forest managers. The project expects to have significant implications for forest health and the global economy. The expected benefit will be implementation of restoration methods in priority areas and subsequently improved forest health.

Expected outcomes

The work is expected to improve tropical forest management. Outcomes will include the identification of thresholds of liana dominance that determine whether forests can recover without intervention, and how these vary regionally under varying climate. Through workshops and working relationships with conservation management authorities and landowners across two continents, the expected benefit will be implementation of restoration methods in priority areas and subsequently improved forest health.

  • The University of York
  • Flamingo Land Ltd
  • Regions involved 
  • England
  • United States of America
  • Australia
  • Tanzania
  • Denmark

Associate Professor Andrew Marshall - ARC Future Fellow



Funding body: Australian Research Council

Amount: $1.7M

4WD driving through rainforest

K’gara-Fraser Island

K'gari-Fraser Island is a World Heritage Area, with a long history of forest disturbance and more recently forest restoration. UniSC has Dilli Village Research and Teaching Facility.

Research on K'gari-Fraser Island will investigate forest dynamics, and how past disturbance has impacted forests and how forests will recover

Grahame Applegate is leading our efforts to re-establish permanent plots established by Qld Department of Forestry including:

  • Plots monitoring growth in plantations of native species (some date to 1919)
  • Multiple experiments related to fire ecology, logging
  • 20 Detailed Yield Plots set up in early 1950’s
  • Series of plots near Dilli Village monitoring sand mine rehabilitation
  • Establish permanent monitoring including flux tower (LIEF grant)
  • Focal point for research and research-informed teaching across disciplines at Dilli Village


Associate Professor Grahame Applegate
Principal Research Fellow