RIEL’s research strengths include biodiversity conservation, savanna and arid ecology, water and catchments, and communities and livelihoods
RIEL’s research strengths include biodiversity conservation, savanna and arid ecology, water and catchments, and communities and livelihoods, explains institute co-director Professor Jenny Davis, who’s also a member of TERN’s Science Advisory Committee.
Jenny says that close collaborations with a diverse range of partners in northern Australia ensures that RIEL’s research has tangible outcomes and is contributing to the sustainable management of Australia’s tropical ecosystems and their resources.
Savanna burning carbon farming initiatives are based on Indigenous landholders intentionally burning grasslands early in the dry season to reduce fuel loads which, in turn, reduces the severity of late-season fires and results in fewer carbon emissions. It is estimated that just one project, the Carbon Farming Initiative, is generating up to 20,000 Australian carbon credit units each year. Another project, the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project, has abated over 2 million tonnes of CO2 since 2006—equivalent to around 240,000 homes’ electricity use for a year—and provided around 300 Indigenous jobs each year.
The TERN Litchfield Savanna SuperSite is a key piece of NCRIS national research infrastrcutre that facilitates research and education activites by RIEL (image courtesy of Lindsay Hutley)
Beyond research, RIEL also supports undergraduate learning and postgraduate training through the provision of intensive field units. Professor Lindsay Hutley, convenor of Ecosystem Function: Field Studies in North Australia, and his colleagues take students to a selection of research sites along TERN’s North Australian Tropical Transect—part of a global network of sub continental-scale transects that traverse the world's major biomes, under the auspices of the United Nation's International Geosphere-Biosphere Program.
@CDUni environmental science students at the @TERN_Aus Litchfield Savanna Supersite looking at fire, rainfall and savanna. Students from Nepal, India, Ghana, Norway, Batchelor, Rum Jungle, Humpty Doo, Darwin, Newcastle, Melbourne and Brazil. pic.twitter.com/W12xY0AyHC— Lindsay Hutley (@HutleyLindsay) July 13, 2019
Published in TERN newsletter October 2019