The ecophysiology of climate change impacts on Australian forests and woodlands

Event type: 
18 October 2019

UNSW Mathews Building, Theatre D

Professor Belinda Medlyn
Western Sydney University
Dr Daniel Falster

Climate change, driven by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, is well under way. In Australia we are seeing rising temperatures, increased heat extremes, and hotter (and therefore more severe) droughts. Predicting the likely impacts of these changes in the near-term, so that we can pro-actively manage for them, as opposed to reacting as they occur, has become a pressing need. Making such predictions for Australian forests and woodlands requires a quantitative understanding of the effects of these environmental factors on the ecophysiology of our woody species. In this seminar I will summarise recent results from our experimental research on the effects of CO2 enrichment, warming, heatwaves and drought on Australian tree species, and explain how this research can be used to inform predictive models of forest function under global change.

Since first writing this abstract, Belinda has been awarded the ARC Georgina Sweet Laureate fellowship. The seminar will also cover her plans for her Laureate project, which is to develop an Australian dynamic vegetation model, and her plans for the Georgina Sweet ambassador role.

Bio: Belinda Medlyn is a Professor at the Western Sydney University. Her research focuses on how plants, especially forests, respond to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide and climate change. Belinda works at the interface between experiments and models: the aim is to develop evidence-based models of how ecosystem productivity, water use and species composition will be affected by global change, and to do so she works closely with a number of experimental teams world-wide to test and improve ecosystem models.