Rob is a new member of our ecology team and a recent PhD graduate from the University of Newcastle. On 1 October 2021 he presented some of the major findings from his research to the Hunter Coal Environment Group meeting, which took great interest in his research to improve open cut mine rehabilitation.

Rob’s presentation described how differences in soil types can influence the restoration of an endangered ecological community in the post mining landscape. As many avid gardeners would know, the fertility of the soil can influence the groups of species that perform well. Rob’s research showed that the lowest fertility treatment produced a flora community most similar to the critically endangered Central Hunter Valley eucalypt forests and woodland ecological community.

There is a risk, though, that this lower fertility treatment will not have the resources it needs to grow into a full forest. So, there is a risk trade-off between what is needed to improve the initial species composition outcome with what is need by the community long term. The other major findings were from the microbial ecology, which showed that while some important symbiotic microbes such as rhizobia were abundant within 5 years of restoration, other symbiotic microbes, particularly ectomycorrhiza, had not been able to establish themselves.

For more information about this presentation, you can contact Rob at robert.scanlon@dewittconsulting.com.au.

For more information on our range of ecological services get in touch with our team today at ecology@dewittconsulting.com.au