Lead researcher: Dr Baden Myers

The project aims to develop a scientific basis for improved accounting for plantations in the Lower Limestone Coast whilst ensuring sustainable water resources. Benefits include: Higher productivity forest industry for increased economic value and employment for SA. More efficient use of the Lower Limestone Coast water resources. More adaptive forest management strategies that better align with SA Government water policy and legislation under the Natural Resource Management Act 2004.

This project is broken down into four main components: remote sensing, ground monitoring, wetland setbacks, groundwater recharge and research dissemination.

Progress has been made across all four components:

Remote sensing – the goal is to derive near-daily estimates of tree water use at 10m spatial resolution, and deliver estimates through a cloud-based tool. . A prototype plantation water use estimation tool has been completed, using blended remote sensing (satellite) data and user provided dates/locations to estimate water use for a defined plantation area. The tool is currently being calibrated with on ground data on plantation water use.

Ground monitoring – the goal of this activity is to collect on-ground water use estimates at field plots. Monitoring sites were selected based on identifying high and low values of evapotranspiration (water use) using the uncalibrated remote sensing tool. There are currently four sites being monitored of two species (pine and eucalypt). In September, the selection of the next round of monitoring sites will occur and new monitoring sites instated by October. 

Wetland Setback– This activity examines wetland setbacks, their derivation, impact and improved means of managing wetlands for plantation managers. A review of buffers including collation of requirements in Australian states and the results of this have been fed back to the project partners. Consultation with plantation forest managers has developed an understanding of how wetlands are currently managed, including condition assessment and management actions which have been applied. The review phase completed, the project is now commencing work on other tasks including the engagement of an ecologist to assist in the derivation of a tool for wetland management that can be applied uniformly by forest managers to determine wetlands needing management actions.

Groundwater Recharge– This activity aims to improve the estimated recharge across the LLC WAP area and examine the uncertainty of the estimated recharge values. Recharge estimation has commenced to create new modelling tools.      Recharge estimation will more explicitly define recharge for management zones in the LLCWAP, including error estimation.

Research dissemination – the project has delivered eight mini-seminars and there have been newsletters disseminated.


Richard Benyon_Water Management NIFPI

Richard Benyon collecting data from test site


Our team:  Baden Myers, Jeff Lawson, Jim O'Hehir, Stefan Peters, Guna Hewa Alankarage, Chris Chow, Mizanur Rahman, Eriita Jones, Richard Benyon (University of Melbourne), Okke Batelaan (Flinders University), Daniel Partington (Flinders University).


Contact information

Dr Jim O’Hehir
General Manager: Forest Research Mount Gambier
Ph: +61 8 830 28997
E: Jim.O'Hehir@unisa.edu.au

Michele Cranage
Administrative Officer
Ph: +61 8 830 28902
E: Michele.Cranage@unisa.edu.au