The ‘Dry 2011’ semester is rapidly drawing to an end, and students are now completely engrossed in their Directed Research projects. While other faculty are running projects on everything from cane toad and tree kangaroo monitoring, to local movements in sustainable development, the research I’m most involved with is more directed at rainforests – what are the spatial patterns in diversity in old-growth rainforest, and what are the patterns of success and failure in rainforest restoration plantings?

 Some students have been very fortunate to work with highly experienced field biologists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, who are collecting data on a long-term monitoring plot in a beautiful patch of rainforest near the SFS Center. This will provide high-quality data on Australian rainforests in a format comparable to other monitoring plots in the Amazon and Congo.

Others are forging their own research agendas in the relatively new field of rainforest restoration. Days in the field are long but rewarding, and I’m very impressed with the ability of students to work as a team through the real-world problems that fieldwork always brings up. These are early days for both research projects, and we’re all very excited to see what results come out of the next weeks’ data collection period.