News and events
ACSC PhD student, Mr Shiva Pandey, presented his research findings to the Major Group's Workshop in support of United Nations Forum on Forests in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
This major workshop at the National School of Tropical Botany, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was convened from 18-22 March 2013 in support of United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) representing youth and children, women, farmer, forest users, indigenous groups, non-government organization, and science and technology groups from worldwide.
Mr Pandey gave his presentation on forests based economic development possibilities in community forests including forest products, ecosystem services, REDD+ payments which has helped all participants to think through the possible recommendations for upcoming “UNFF 10” forum to be held in Istanbul, Turkey in 8-19 April 2013.
Dr Tek Maraseni received a highly competitive travel grant from Asia-Pacific Network (APN) to attend a major international conference to address the challenge of establishing effective strategies for mediating the relationship between humans and the natural world.
The conference, “Earth System Governance Tokyo Conference”, was held at the United Nations University Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, 28-31 January. The conference was jointly hosted by the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), the International Environmental Governance Architecture Research Group and the Tokyo Institute of Technology on behalf of the Earth System Governance Project.
In this conference, Tek gave a presentation on “A comparative analysis of global stakeholders’ perceptions of the governance quality of the CDM and REDD+”.
He also chaired a session “Forest Governance 3” to the conference.
USQ/ACSC researcher, Christa Pudmenzky receives Achievement Award from Queensland Parliament for the research on turtle nesting habits at Mon Repos and surrounding areas. (Following on from September ACSC 2012 news)
At a recent Queensland Parliamentary Internship Program ceremony at Parliament House, Madam Speaker Hon Fiona Simpson MP of the Queensland Parliament presented Ms Christa Pudmenzky with a Certificate of Achievement Award for submitting her report on the study.
The following is the Executive Summary from Christa's report:
Australia supports globally the largest remaining populations of marine turtles, and six of the world’s seven species are found in Queensland and Western Australian waters. However, Australia’s human population is heavily concentrated in coastal regions with an increase in residential and commercial development and therefore an increase in artificial lighting. Since breeding marine turtles and hatchlings are vulnerable to disorientation from artificial lighting adjacent to nesting areas, it is important that good planning and management strategies are applied to the location and design of proposals that could potentially disrupt turtle breeding success. The purpose of this report is to establish the type of regulations that are in place in Queensland to protect vulnerable and endangered nesting marine turtles and hatchlings from artificial lighting and to recommend possible legislative changes or modification to avoid, reduce, mitigate and manage the negative impact. Research for this project included an in depth review of the current literature on the risk of coastal light pollution on marine turtles from residential and commercial development and interviews with stakeholders from diverse backgrounds. The assessment indicates that currently there is no legislation governing light pollution near turtle breeding areas on state level in Queensland and any concerns are addressed via arrangements directly with individual councils. Therefore it is recommended that the Queensland Government develops and implements legislations with the aim to protect the endangered marine turtle species along the Queensland coast.
Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments Third Annual Postgraduate Seminar
9 November 2012, USQ, Toowoomba, Venue T452
Our students are doing groundbreaking research. Your presence would encourage them for further cutting edge research.
8:45 – 9:00am Welcome (Prof Roger Stone) and panel introduction and assessment process (Tek Maraseni)
Group 1 (Carbon stock, biodiversity and water under climate change regime; Chairperson; Adewuyi Ayodele Adeyinka )
9:00 – 9:20am Precila Salcedo: Carbon sequestration potential for spotted gum (Corymbia citriodora subspecies Variegata) plantation at the South East Queensland, Australia
9:20 – 9:40am Shiva Pandey: Annual carbon stock changes in community based forest management system under REDD+ interventions: A case study in Nepalese community forests
9:40 – 10:00am Zanariah Z. Abdullah: Fine-scale habitat mapping and modelling of bulloak jewel butterfly, climate change impact analysis and adaptation strategies
10:00 – 10:20am Luningning Dalayon: Relationships between land use/cover transitions, population change and water usage and yield under climate variability/change within the condamine catchment
10:20 – 10:40am Tea and coffee break
Group 2 (Drought, flood, dust storm, transhumance and insurance under climate change regime: Chairperson: Precila Salcedo)
10:40 – 11:00am Rohini Devkota: Flood adaptation strategies under climate change in Western Terai of Nepal
11:00 – 11:20am Rodolfo Jr Espada: Spatial modelling of adaptation strategies for urban built infrastructures exposed to flood hazards
11:20 – 11:40am Christa Pudmenzky: El Niño-Southern Oscillation influence on the dust storm activity in Australia: can the past provide an insight into the future?
11:40 – 12:0pm Suman Aryal: Examining the transhumance system in the northern mountainous areas of Nepal under changing conservation paradigm and climate change
12:00 –12:20pm Adewuyi A. Adeyinka: Viability of weather index insurance in managing drought risk in Queensland and Western Australia
12:20 – 1:20pm Lunch break
Group 3 (Sustainable landscapes: Chairperson: Shiva Pandey)
1:20 – 1:40pm Rachel Mapperson: Biodiversity of fungal endophytes in semi-evergreen vine thickets
1:40 – 2:00pm Arun Dhakal: Factors affecting adoption of agroforestry based land management practice: a case of Dhanusha District, Nepal
2:00 – 2:20pm Morwenna Boddington: Morphological & molecular investigation of Russula diversity in south-east Queensland
2:20 – 2:40pm Lisa Fritz: The effects of patch and landscape factors on the resilience of poplar box (Eucalyptus populnea F. Muell.) woodlands, south east Queensland
2:40 – 3:00pm Mathew Irwin: Investigation of the mycorrhizal fungi of the vulnerable Sarcochilus hartmannii
3:00 – 3:20pm Tea and coffee break
Group 4 (Teaching, corruption, larvae transport and PVC dosimeter; Chairperson; Christa Pudmenzky)
3:20 – 3:40pm Kay Lembo: Insight into science teachers’ professional learning in Darling Downs Schools
3:40 – 4:00pm Arjun Neupane: Evaluating the anti-corruption capabilities of public e-procurement in developing countries
4:00 – 4:20pm Daniel Brieva: A path for salt escape and an approximation to larvae transport in Southeast Queensland’s coast
4:20–4:40pm Abdurazaq Amar: Optical characteristics of the PVC dosimeter
4:40-5:00pm Comment/suggestion from panel members and closing remarks from ACSC Director Professor Roger Stone
Dr Tek Maraseni presented a case study from Nepal at UNFCCC Doha Climate Change Conference, November 2012 - Over 17,000 people attended the conference.
Tek presented a case study from Nepal concerning strengthening stakeholder governance of REDD+. He described the community-centered project, highlighting findings that show REDD+ policies are contributing to poverty alleviation through job creation and community participation.
In this conference, the research team from ACSC, GU and IGES Japan, gave three different presentations in three different side events organised by world renowned organisations: (1) International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO), Japan; (2) International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Nepal; and (3) NGO Forum. The presentations were well received and nicely covered, in the front page news with photos, from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
During the discussions, participants considered: the enabling conditions to implement REDD+ in non-rainforest areas; the role of government in community-led projects; how to equally distribute REDD+ payments to all user groups, including women; the misconceptions about shifting cultivation; and the role of the media in disseminating information on REDD+ activities.
Briefing the press at the end of the Doha Climate Change Conference, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, said, "Today has been a historic day. We have seen the adoption of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, something which Parties have been working toward for seven years."
ACSC is hosting a student from Wageningen University
The Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchment (ACSC) is hosting a BSc-International Land and Water Management student of Wageningen University, Carlette Nieland for a three month internship. Carlette will be working closly with Dr. Shahbaz Mushtaq on assesing the ‘effectiveness of flood warning systems in Toowoomba’ in 2012.
Endangered turtles get helping hand from USQ
USQ/ACSC researcher, Christa Pudmenzky, is fighting to find a way to give the turtles a helping hand.
PhD student Christa Pudmenzky, who is based at USQ's Toowoomba campus, has been selected by Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett to undertake a project through the Queensland Parliamentary Internship Program.
Under the direction of Mr Bennett, Ms Pudmenzky will research turtle nesting habits at Mon Repos and surrounding areas, with a particular focus on the continued increase of new developments and therefore an increase in light pollution on nesting areas.
USQ/ACSC Scientists receive world recognition - Scientists say "upgrade old irrigation systems first"
Farmers are responding to the growing problem of water scarcity by upgrading their irrigation systems.
But a study in Environmental Research Letters (ERL) shows that while new irrigation systems save water, the only sure way to also save energy is to prioritize the replacement of the oldest, most inefficient systems.
Although the study focused on Australian agriculture, its authors say the results should apply elsewhere too.
Dr Tek Maraseni, Dr Shahbaz Mushtaq and Dr Kate Reardon-Smith at the University of Southern Queensland decided to find out how big this trade-off is by assessing five different Australian farms that were upgrading their irrigation systems. To do this, they collected information about the running of the farms in order to calculate the expected water usage, the carbon-dioxide equivalent greenhouse emissions and the financial return.
USQ former student and ACSC member, Dr. Kate Reardon-Smith, has received Condamine Alliance ‘Inaugural Condamine Awards 2012’ for ‘Outstanding contribution by a Volunteer’.
Kate was nominated because of her enduring dedication to the environment and the Landcare movement and has been a key member of Cambooya Landcare since its inception in 1993.
Kate has initiated and implemented many environmental projects over this time and helped to raise awareness of native flora and fauna and appropriate land management to protect and improve biodiversity. She has been an active member of the Friends of Felton group providing well-research responses and submissions about the potential impacts of mining developments in agricultural areas.
Kate has undertaken an extensive research project on the “Disturbance ecology in the riparian woodlands of the Upper Condamine Floodplain, Southern Queensland” to successfully complete her PhD with the University of Southern Queensland’s Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments in 2011.
Her extensive knowledge of the region’s ecosystems is a valuable asset for Natural Resource Management in the Condamine Catchment.
Kate also won the 2010 Go WEST USQ Student Award – ‘Sciences’- while studying at USQ, Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments (ACSC). Kate received the ‘Sciences’ award in recognition of her outstanding leadership and community involvement in various environmental activities whilst balancing PhD study, a family and teaching commitments.
Kate has also supported the development of teaching and research in ecology and sustainability at ACSC/USQ and at UQ (Gatton). She has taught ecology at USQ for over 16 years and continues to provide significant assistance and inspiration to fellow agro-ecology students within the ACSC. We believe Kate is an excellent role model for women in natural resource management and sustainability. Her enthusiasm extends over her entire professional career and demonstrates a sustained passion for making a lasting and significant contribution to science and sustainability.
We’d like to acknowledge her efforts and valuable contributions.
USQ grows partnership with sugar industry
A research partnership announced between the Queensland sugar industry and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is destined to bring a much sweeter outlook to the future of sugar cane growing.
Queensland Sugar Ltd (QSL) executives visited the University’s Toowoomba campus today (April 19) to look at how the two organisations can use research from USQ’s Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments to better plan the growing cycles for the State’s multi-billion dollar industry.
Centre Director and Professor of Climatology and Water Science, Roger Stone, said that under the agreement QSL will help fund research to provide new climate risk information for the sugar industry.
‘It can cost the sugar industry hundreds of millions of dollars if an assessment of the climate pattern is wrong,’ Professor Stone explained. ‘Armed with the right knowledge the industry can actually forward-plan a lot more efficiently.’
QSL Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Greg Beashel said Queensland’s $2 billion sugar industry would benefit immeasurably from the information provided by USQ.
He said sugar was the most volatile commodity in terms of price so it was extremely important for growers and industry players to have solid information on which to base their projections.
There are about 3000 canegrowers in Queensland so this project is also about bringing the climate science to them, getting them to understand it and then to influence how they will plan and manage their crops,” Mr Beashel said.
‘Our view is that Professor Stone and his team are the best in the world in this field so I’m confident they can help us to get the best outcomes we need.’
Workshops to explain the research are currently happening in cane growing areas and Mr Beashel said the industry was already benefiting from USQ’s research.
The project is a world-first in this type of integrated systems research that aims to combine climate science with industry management on a major scale. In addition, important cane and sugar yield forecasting that will be integrated with climate science information will be done through James Cook University under a sub-contract to USQ for this project.
A further key role for USQ is the development of highly-detailed GIS/remote sensing data and analysis that will be able to determine the likelihood of the exact percentage of fields in all sugar growing regions of Queensland that would be subject to water logging, and therefore unable to be harvested.
USQ professor reflects on time as President of the Islamic Countries Society of Statistical Sciences
University of Southern Queensland Professor of Statistics Shahjahan Khan has stepped down from his position as the President of the Islamic Countries Society of Statistical Sciences (ISOSS) after six years in the role.
Professor Khan said the ISOSS, a global body of professional statisticians, played a crucial role in shaping his professional position and global perspectives on statistics.
‘The responsibilities of the ISOSS President were to lead the international professional organisation at the global level, promote its activities, attract membership, oversee management, organise biennial international conferences, deal with other international organisations with similar objectives and activities, collect sponsorship and build and enhance reputation,’ Professor Khan said.
‘I took over the position in 2005 and replaced the Founding President Dr Munir Ahmed who held the position since 1988.’
The new President of the society will be Professor Ali Haidi of the American University of Cairo in Egypt and Stephen Weiss, Presidential Fellow and Professor Emeritus at Cornell University in America.
‘When I took over, ISOSS was a regional organisation and facing problems with attracting venues and sponsors to organise international conferences.
‘I took the role as a challenge and organised very successful conferences in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Cairo, Egypt and Lahore, Pakistan.
‘I enjoyed the interaction with leading scientists of the world and productive communication with so many professional colleagues in academia, industry, government offices and in the media.’
As President, Professor Khan oversaw the planning, design, construction and February 2001 opening of the ISOSS House in its headquarters in Lahore, Pakistan.
‘I am very pleased with to leave ISOSS leadership at a time when ISOSS is best placed as a highly regarded international body of statisticians of all backgrounds, regardless of nationality, gender, race or religion,’ Professor Khan said.
‘I have been able to create momentum among the membership and peers and I am confident this will help move the society further, as new leadership is likely to bring new ideas and initiatives.’
Professor Khan said he had numerous highlights from his time as President, including engaging with statisticians in South East Asia and in the Arab world as well as statisticians from outside Islamic countries and bringing ISOSS to the global stage alongside other international professional statistical organisations.
‘In addition to the promotion of the value of statistics, we built the ISOSS into an institute for excellence of statistical learning and teaching by producing high quality statisticians through undergraduate and postgraduate programs in statistics,’ he said.
ACSC and ACSBD Researchers Organise Multi-stakeholder Forum Workshop in Nepal.
With the support of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan and Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB) Dr Tek Maraseni and Dr Tim Cadman organised a two day Multi-stakeholder Forum Workshop on a voluntary national draft quality-of-governance standard for sustainable management and use of forest biomass in Nepal on 13 – 14 December 2011.
The workshop focussed on developing verifiers for the indicators developed by researchers through an online questionnaire survey and face-to-face interviews of key stakeholders.
The overarching goal of the workshop was to actively engage institutions and stakeholders in formulating voluntary governance standards, following international best practice and participatory decision-making by means of a pilot study in Nepal. A total of 43 participants representing government, civil society, women group, universities, I/NGOs, bilateral aid aencies, professionals, community forestry user groups and media were present at the workshop.
Dr. Tek Maraseni from ACSC facilitated the workshop. In the beginning, he briefed on the objectives of the workshop and its role for drafting the standards/verifiers of good governance for forest management in Nepal focusing on REDD+. He highlighted key issues of the global rate of deforestation and forest degradation and its contribution to the total GHG emission.
He further stressed that if the forestry sector is not given priority, the target of reducing the GHGs emissions will not be achieved. While describing the background of the research, he explained that the research was designed to develop principles, criteria, and indicators of governance. The community forestry of Nepal is an example in the world stage, the verifiers developed with the involvement of its stakeholders can also provide useful feedback to the UNFCCC system.
At the end of the workshop, after the development of verifiers for each indicator, a steering committee was formed for building institutional support and to oversee ongoing development of draft voluntary standard. This workshop heightened the name of USQ among the governmental, non-governmental and donor communities in Nepal and Japan.
ACSC PhD Student, Christa Pudmenzky, attended the AGU Fall Meeting 2011 in San Francisco, California, USA to present her current research poster.
The AGU Fall Meeting is the world largest conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting over 20,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and policy makers.
This meeting showcases current scientific theory focused on discoveries that will benefit humanity and ensure a sustainable future for our planet.
During the five day meeting the delegates have the opportunity to attend 6,000 oral presentations, view 12,000 posters from a broad range of disciplines, visit 250 exhibitions and participate in many workshops, Town Halls and social & networking events.
Christa Pudmenzky commented:
“One of the highlights of the conference was to meet some of the most passionate and energised people and to be surrounded by a constant buzz of activity.
I had the opportunity to listen to presentations by highly regarded scientists and to showcase and discuss my research with experts in my field.
Attending a conference of this calibre is an experience of a life time I will never forget.”
To find out more about the AGU conference: http://www.agu.org/meetings/
Dr Sarah Tessendorf , Project Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), kindly presented a short seminar at the ACSC research morning tea, about the world's largest international science education program, Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program.
Dr Tessendorf’s presentation title was "The GLOBE International Scientist Network: Connecting Scientists, Teachers, and Students from Around the World to Study Climate”.
The GLOBE Program
The GLOBE International Scientist Network (GISN) is an international network of scientists that work with GLOBE students around the world conducting science. Scientists mentor students and teachers, present scientific ideas, and/or collaborate on scientific research. Each relationship between a scientist and a GLOBE school is different, and is determined by the scientist and the school.
Why scientists participate in GLOBE
1. GLOBE has a scientific database extending over 16 years with data in most earth system science research areas that can be used to supplement standard research data.
2. GLOBE students can collect additional data related to your research expanding your observation network.
3. The international nature of GLOBE provides a unique opportunity to add or establish an
international component to your research.
4. Scientists working with GLOBE have a strong desire to mentor and inspire young minds, interacting with the next generation.
5. GLOBE students want to be a part of real-world, cutting edge science that matters to them, their
community and scientists. GLOBE scientists contribute to science education in a unique way that can have a lasting impression on student interest in science, as well as scientific literacy.
Ways scientists participate in GLOBE
1. Work with an existing partner. There are GLOBE partners in 110 countries and nearly all 50 U.S. states. Partners are associated with universities, non-profits,museums, and other
environmental organizations. With this diversity, it is possible to develop partnerships that are appropriate for an array of projects.
2. Include GLOBE in the outreach portion of scientific projects. GLOBE can suggest ways to integrate GLOBE data and students into your research.
3. Use GLOBE data in your research. All GLOBE data are publically available. With data ranging from land cover classifications in Bahrain to cloud observations in the Marshall Islands, you may be able to find just what you're looking for. This data can be searched using powerful, web based search tools and downloaded in a variety of formats (web-based, delineated text,or shape files).
4. Develop a working relationship with a local GLOBE school. Scientists often connect with a local primary or secondary GLOBE school in their area to assist the teacher and inspire students.
If you're interested in joining or learning more, email email@example.com.
Marina Costa Barbosa, PhD student at the Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchment (ACSC), received a ‘Travel Grant for Early Career Researchers’ to participate in the Water Governance Research Initiative: National Workshop 2011.
The Water Governance Research Initiative is a theme of the National Climate Change Research Facility (NCCARF) Water Resources and Freshwater Biodiversity Adaptation Research Network.
The workshop was held at the ANU Crawford School in Canberra, 21 - 22 November. The workshop objectives provided reflections on Australian water reform and discussed the water reforms from a number of thematic perspectives; and also reframing water governance and developing a policy brief based on recommendations into the National Water Commission report.
Marina is developing her research exploring stakeholders’ engagement in the Murray-Darling Basin planning and management under the supervision of Dr. Shahbaz Mushtaq. Particularly, the research involves a mix of quantitative and qualitative approach to explore the collaboration and interaction among governance structures in the Murray-Darling Basin, aiming to contribute for better outcomes of water planning and management in Australia and worldwide.
Professor Roger Stone (Director, Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments), recently chaired an important meeting of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome on aspects related to the needs for climate services in the agriculture, food security and water user sectors at global and regional levels.
The aim of the meeting was to enhance the application of climate information in the global agriculture, food security and water sectors to improve the capability of world agencies to cope with famine, drought and extreme climate.
Representatives at this meeting included those from the FAO, (Agriculture and Food Security); UNESCO; The World Food Programme; The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); The International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage; The Global Water Partnership; The International Water Management Institute; and The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation.
This special meeting was co-organised by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and FAO. Professor Stone was funded by the UN WMO to participate in this meeting.
As a result of this work with the UN, USQ is regarded highly in its capabilities and capacity in key areas of this work, especially climate modelling. Integrating climate and agricultural models, water resource modelling, drought management issues and distance education aspects.
- In the seminar, there were four groups and each group was chaired by a postgraduate student;
- As it was truly a multidisciplinary seminar, evaluation criteria was based on presentation skills and answering skills not on the basis of contents and subject matter;
- All presentations were assessed by academic panels; and
- The best three presenters received a cash prize.
Group 1 (Climate change: Chairperson; Dev Raj Paudyal)
Group 2 (Climate change, UV dosimeter and UV Aerosol depth: Chairperson; Bernie Stilgoe)
Group 3 (Sustainable landscapes and Environment: Chairperson; Maureen Ewai)
Group 4 (Catchment, Water and Statistics: Chairperson; Adewuyi Ayodele Adeyinka)
ACSC advises the following post-graduate students have been awarded places and prizes for their seminar efforts as follows:
(1) First: Jenny Spence; award: $500.00;
(2) Second: Damien Igoe; award: $300.00;
(3) Bruce Harris; award: $200.00;
Special congratulations to Jenny, Damien and Bruce and ACSC Deputy Director (Operations) Dr Tek Maraseni and all the panel members for their devotion to this special task.
Conferences: October 2011
WCRP Open Science Conference – ‘Climate Research in Service to Society’
24-28 October 2011
Denver CO, USA
ACSC PhD Student, Christa Pudmenzky, attended the WCRP Conference to present her current research posters.
Christa talks about her unique opportunity and some highlights from the conference:
"During the time we were confronted with 2 weather extremes. On Monday we had the hottest day on record for this time of year and the following day we had 30 cm of snow.
More the 1900 participants from 86 countries attended the conference including 523 students plus early career scientists and 332 scientists from developing countries. More than 500 posters were displayed.
The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) , Open Science Conference represented a unique opportunity to assemble the large international scientific community to focus on key challenges and opportunities in advance understanding and prediction of variability and change of Earth’s climate system on all space and time scales.
The WCRP OSC was organized around daily themes that reflect integrative aspects of the WCRP programme, as well as connections to other international research programmes. Each day consisted of plenary presentations and discussions by leading scientists and conference participants who are informed by community-based position papers. The plenary sessions were followed by parallel and poster sessions, which were the primary means for conference participants to present their research findings.
An emerging theme from the WCRP Conference was the need for actionable science. Decision-makers need climate and other scientific information to guide decisions. But there is often a mismatch between the scientific data available and the information these companies need. Future climate projections may be too uncertain regarding precipitation in a small region, or relevant data may be sitting unused on a laptop in an academic’s office.
During a panel discussion, representatives from several major companies discussed how scientists and private enterprise can work together toward actionable information. Conversations during conferences are a start for data users to better understand the richness of the data available, and for scientists to begin to understand what kind of data users need to guide decisions".
Further reading: Factors affecting the nature and rate of dust production from natural dune sands (2007)
ACSC PhD student Arun Dhakal presented his paper “Agroforestry based farming system, farm characteristics and climate change: A study of Dhanusha district, Nepal", (PDF 310 KB) co-authored by Geoff Cockfield and Tek Narayan Maraseni, at the “Third International Conference on Addressing Climate Change for Sustainable Development through Up-Scaling Renewable Energy Technologies”, in Kathmandu, Nepal.
The conference was held on October 12-14, 2011 and organised by Centre for Energy Studies, Institute of Engineering (IOE), Tribhuvan University (TU).
ACSC congratulates Adewuyi Ayodele Adeyinka for being granted the scholarship for Summer Research at Australian National University (ANU).
The scholarship is a product of an alliance between USQ and ANU which will formally commence on 28 November 2011 and continues to 25 January 2012.
Research objectives are as follows:
The overarching goal of this study is to determine the viability of weather index–based insurance mechanism as an adaptation alternative to managing revenue shortfalls among Australian farmers and to promote the market through institutional investment diversification.
Specifically the study will determine:
• The extent to which price hedging in the wheat price options’ market is efficient.
• The relationship between wheat weather-index options payoff and yield.
• The investment diversification prospects of wheat weather-index options.
The USQ Surveying and Spatial Science Department in association with other discipline staff across the faculty and centres (USQ) are in the process of purchasing an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for small area sensing at low altitudes.
The system will consist of:
Single rotor electric mini-copter for training, including use of radio controlled flight simulator;
Hexacopter with open-source software and firmware for platform research and development;
OktoKopter with proprietary software for high resolution photogrammetry and remote sensing.
It will include a number of sensors including a Single lens HD camera; a Video downlink; a Multispectral sensor Multispectral sensor including NIR; a Thermal sensor; and a LiDAR system, including laser, GPS and inertial measuring unit. It is anticipated the system could be used for a variety of research including:
• Precision agriculture;
• Disaster management, including research into land mine detection;
• Change detection research, e.g. Forestry, Land Use;
• Mapping and research for Urban Design;
• Water resource management, and
• Demonstration of aerial photogrammetry for undergraduate courses and to the public.
ACSC PhD student, Lucy Richardson, wins the 2011 Murray Darling Association Travelling Bursary award at the annual Murray Darling Association conference in Dalby on Thursday 8 September.
Lucy Richardson accepted the bursary which is awarded each year to allow a younger catchment management authority employee to expand their knowledge and skill base by visiting other areas of natural resource management significance across the Murray Darling Basin.
The Condamine Alliance Science Leader will use the travelling bursary to create a report card on the state of the Condamine catchment.
While reports cards have been developed for several coastal areas including the Gippsland area and South East Queensland, nothing exists for inland catchment areas. “With this project, Condamine Alliance will be the first inland catchment regional body to create a report card on its catchment area. This will be an opportunity to learn from other efforts across Australia and find out what worked well and what could be improved,” Ms Richardson said.
Ms Richardson is wasting no time in making use of the bursary. Lucy will travel to Newcastle in New South Wales and West Gippsland in Victoria to learn how other organisations have developed report cards on their significant areas.
“This will ultimately improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our chosen approach and help us avoid any significant issues. What I learn as part of this process can be applied to all regions of the Murray Darling Basin and other inland catchments.
Dr. Shahbaz Mushtaq, Task Team member for Climate Risk Management (TT-CRM) in Meteorological Organisation (WMO), attended WMO Symposium on Climate Change Management and scientific meeting of TT-CRM in Guayaquil, Ecuador (funded by the UN).
The aim of this Symposium was to help both providers and users of climate information in the development and effective use of information on climate variability and change, in an operational ‘no regrets’ sense, in minimizing climate related risks and maximizing any opportunity that may arise, the essential principle of CRM. During the Symposium, Dr. Mushtaq presented on 'Climate Risk Management through Structural Adjustment and Regional Relocation: A Case of Rice Industry in Australia’.
It is expected that TT-CRM team will develop a concept paper on CRM that would be extended to
WMO Members through training workshop (s); educational materials (preferably for e-learning); practical tools to apply CRM principles.
USQ academic awarded world-class climate change fellowship
Over the last six years Dr Maraseni has produced more than 65 publications, including two books.
USQ academic and former student, Dr Tek Maraseni, has been selected to take part in the prestigious US Climate Change Professional Fellows Program.
The international program is funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and brings together professionals from Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, and the United States to explore the issues and actions surrounding climate change.
Dr Maraseni said he was honoured to receive an award of such high calibre.
'I am extremely happy with my achievement. At the time of application, I was not expecting this award, as previous awardees were reputed Senior Advisor to the Queensland Premier and a United Nations Ambassador for the Global Atlas of Human Rights,' he said.
Dr Maraseni said fellows were selected based on outstanding performance and their ability to play leadership roles in the science, impact, adaptation, mitigation and actions related to climate change.
'A fellow should meet a number of criteria, including a demonstrated commitment to community service and strong interest in climate change issues.
'This award helps me to enhance my profile domestically and internationally. I am not only a USQ staff member but also a PhD graduate of USQ. Therefore, I always feel a huge responsibility to promote USQ, from where I achieved enormous value and progress. Now I feel that I am one step closer to fulfil my responsibility.
'This is not only my success, this is the success of my Centre, Faculty of Business and Law, and USQ as a whole.'
Deputy Director of the Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchment, Dr Shahbaz Mushtaq, said this is not the first success story for Dr Maraseni.
'He has also received many national and international awards, grants and fellowships including a prestigious Queensland-China Climate Change Fellowship 2008 award from Queensland Premier, Ms Anna Bligh MP,' Dr Mushtaq said.
'Dr Maraseni also received a globally competitive and highly prestigious award from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and financial support from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to attend and present papers at a meeting during 2009.
'In 2009 he received the Faculty of Business Researcher of the Year Award and 2010 Research Excellence Award (which includes a medallion, a certificate and cash prize of $5000) from USQ.'
The fellowship will take place throughout several major US cities this month and next
Technological change in the Australian irrigation industry: implications for future resource management and policy development
This report explores the trade-offs between water savings, energy use (and greenhouse gas emissions) and economic gain through the implementation of more water-efficient, but more energy intensive forms of irrigation technologies on-farm.
Through a series of case studies and scenarios, the report demonstrates that converting to more water-efficient pressurised irrigation systems can result in significant water savings and economic returns.
Using a range of assumed carbon prices, the costs associated with increases in greenhouse gas emissions for most of the case studies did partly offset the economic gain. However, this was not as influential as water savings, productivity gains and labour savings.
The report suggests that priority should be given to replacing older, inefficient and energy-intensive sprinkler irrigation systems such as hand shift and roll-line. Such technological upgrades will save both water and considerable energy, as well as leading to greenhouse gas emission reductions through improved farming operations.
This report has been prepared for the National Water Commission by Dr Shahbaz Mushtaq and Dr Tek N. Maraseni, as part of the Commission's Fellowship program. The Fellowship Program was established to support implementation of the National Water Initiative by developing future leaders for Australia's water sector who can advance water-related knowledge and build industry capacity.
Managing climate variability in irrigation systems: Application of Artificial Intelligence, Numerical and Computational Analysis
Monday 11 July 2011 12:00PM-1:00 PM
USQ Toowoomba Lecture Theatre Q501
Presented by Dharma Dassanayake
International Centre of WATER for Food Security (IC Water)
Locked bag 588, Building 24 Charles Sturt University
USQ warmly welcomed the Secretary, of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Government of Nepal
At the invitation of University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Mr Chhabi Raj Pant, Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MFSC) in Nepal, visited USQ 23-24 June, 2011. On behalf of USQ, the Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments (ACSC) organised meetings and day-to-day activities. ACSC researchers are leading science and policy developments in managing the impacts and causes of climate change through programs such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
During the Secretary’s visit, in addition to some informal meetings, three formal meetings were organized with: (1) Nepalese research and higher degrees (RHD) students; (2) the Director, Deputy Directors and Theme Leaders of the Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments; and (3) the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Scholarship).
The MFSC and USQ will collaborate on knowledge sharing, professional development and various projects. To begin collaboration, they have agreed to develop a formal Memorandum of Understanding.
Installation of Primacs SNC Analyser: An enormous opportunity for USQ researchers
Installed Primacs SNC Analyser at USQ
With the technical support of Netherland Engineers, Mr. Gijs Damen and Mr Justin Zeger, Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments (ACSC) has installed PrimacsSNC analyser at University of Southern Queensland on 6 June, 2011. They also provided training to University Staff and PhD Students.
This equipment has been designed for the determination of total nitrogen (TN) and total carbon (TC) in soils, sediments, plant tissues, sludges, rocks, red mud (bauxite residues), and fertilizers that are frequently required for completing the research and consulting projects being carried out by the members and postgraduate students at the Centre. An auto-sampler is integrated in this equipment, which enables the automatic analysis of 20 samples in one batch, weighed in advance, or more if samples are added during analysis. In the past, the samples were sent to commercial laboratories for analysis, which incurred very high costs and substantial delay.
The purchase of this equipment will significantly enhance the analytical capability for USQ’s core research areas. This will result in increased high quality publications and attract successful national and international competitive grant applications. ACSC has already submitted three ARC projects with the intension of using this cutting-edge equipment.