Forest dieback research program

Overseeing a research program focused on untangling the causes of tree dieback

The NSW Environmental Trust engaged the Commission to oversee the delivery of a research program focusing on the causes of mass eucalyptus tree mortality or dieback. This $1 million program will support research projects that inform the effective management of risks to the environment and economy posed by dieback.

The extent, frequency and intensity of tree dieback is increasing globally, across Australia and within NSW – from the Monaro plains, the Kosciusko Alps to the north coast of NSW. Such events pose a significant risk to ecosystem services that support community values such as biodiversity, water and timber resources, tourism, and cultural and spiritual values.

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More information on the Trust’s research programs can be found here.

Eucalyptus Dieback Research Forum 2023

The 65th Annual Symposium of the International Association for Vegetation Science (IAVS 2023) was held on 3-8 September 2023 at Opal Cove, Coffs Harbour, NSW.

The NSW Natural Resources Commission co-ordinated a free pre-symposium research forum on 3 September 2023. The 2023 Eucalyptus Dieback research forum formed part of a NSW Environmental Trust research program focused on untangling the causes of Eucalyptus dieback. Eucalyptus dieback is a complex phenomenon. The collaborative research program has been designed with researchers in different fields working together to better understand primary causes and propose interventions that land managers can adopt. The forum included presentations from grant recipients and provided opportunities for questions and answers. Presenters included, The Australian National University, University of New England, Western Sydney University, Macquarie University, and the CSIRO.

Eucalyptus Dieback Symposium 2022

We oversee the dieback research program to ensure it provides robust and practical evidence to support decision making for policy and adaptive management of forests. Our key role is to convene forums with researchers, forest managers and other stakeholders and disseminate information.

We partnered with the Australian National University to host the Eucalyptus Dieback Symposium in April 2022. The symposium attracted over 120 delegates including academics, Traditional owners, industry, land managers and environmental groups.

Researchers engaged by the program presented an overview of the research project and progress to date. The symposium helped forge a common understanding across the different projects and identify opportunities for collaboration.

Symposium presentations

Video presentations, Q&A sessions and short talks can be accessed below.

Dieback research program commences

We recently hosted the first annual researchers forum for the program online. The expert dieback panel, including Professor Ros Gleadow, Mr Bradley Moggridge and Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte (chair), met with researchers from the Australian National University, CSIRO, Macquarie University, University of New England and Western Sydney University.

Eucalyptus dieback is a complex phenomenon. The program aims to encourage researchers to collaborate across different research fields. Working together in this way, will help identify the root causes of dieback and propose interventions that land managers can adopt.

At the forum, researchers presented their projects to help forge a common understanding, identify synergies and opportunities for collaboration. We will continue to work closely with the researchers to facilitate collaboration, ensure mutual benefits are realised and research findings can ultimately be translated into practical land management outcomes.

We will soon post short videos to introduce and explain the research projects.

New research announced

We provided advice to the Trust on dieback research priorities in 2020 (see box below). The Trust has now awarded grants to leading research institutions.

  • Australian National University - Climate and dieback resilience of tableland and mountain eucalypt species of southeast Australia and Environmental drivers, landscape determinants and control of snow gum dieback
  • CSIRO Land and Water - Untangling the role of mycorrhizal mutualisms in eucalypt dieback to enhance revegetation outcomes
  • University of New England - Causes projections and reversal of eucalypt decline and dieback on the New England Tablelands
  • Macquarie University - Characterising the (a)biotic soil factors associated with bell miner associated dieback in eastern NSW
  • Western Sydney University - Determining the physiological underpinnings of eucalypt dieback in New South Wales

The expert dieback panel chaired by Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte will work closely with the researchers to identify synergies between the research activities and ensure that the outcomes of research inform evidence-based landscape management. We will engage stakeholders and general community on the research and deliver practical advice for future management.

More information on the Trust’s research programs can be found here.