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Tree mortality and forest recovery following unprecedented drought and bushfires

PhD Project: PhD Candidate Simin Rahmani

Funding period: 2021-2025

Funding agency: This PhD project is funded by a Hermon Slade grant, a WSU PhD scholarship and a scholarship from The International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) I was awarded

Supervisors: Dr. Rachael Nolan (HIE) and co-supervisors Professor Matthias Boer (HIE), Professor Brendan Choat (HIE), Associate Professor Owen Price (University of Wollongong)

Summary: Australia’s 2019/20 bushfire season occurred during a period of record-breaking temperatures and extremely low rainfall. By March 2020 the Black Summer fires burnt an unprecedented 7 million hectares. A number of mega-fires occurred in NSW resulting in more burned area than in any fire season on record.

To understand the devastating synergic effects of drought stress and wildfire in forests, I am going to study tree mortality, recovery and recruitment in areas that wildfire meets extreme drought in south-eastern of Australia. I will be analysing existing data and undertaking field work in forest burnt in the Black Summer fires. I started my project in 2021 and I aim to finish it by 2025.