Lead researchers: Professor Jeff Connor and Dr Courtney Regan 

This project will document and develop an understanding of the potential for imminent pests (e.g. AGM) to spread under a range of introduction scenarios. The introduction of these pests may have economic negative impacts on growers, processors and the broader Green Triangle economy. This information will assist industry and policy makers in developing and implementing evidence based enhanced surveillance and monitoring protocols, identifying funding, and contribute to the national goals of the National Forestry Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy 2018-2023, specifically:

1.2 - Develop sustainable funding mechanisms for surveillance that are equitable for all forest stakeholders,
3.1 - Update and review forest pest knowledge,
4.1 - Improve risk mitigation of exotic forest pests along the biosecurity continuum, and
4.3 - Develop incursion preparedness plans for key forest pests.

Application of the forest health and biosecurity system will support forest health managers in planning their response to new incursions of forestry pests. It will also enable more informed planning, budgeting and integration into broader state and national reporting structures, while also allowing for determination of returns on different management scenarios.

The forest industry is the Green Triangle Region’s largest employer with high economic value for the region and the forest sector.  The health and biosecurity of the major plantation species, radiata pine and Tasmanian blue gum requires a risk management investment to ensure the industry is protected from exotic pests through import/export facilities such as the Port of Portland.

Forest health involves the management of existing pests and diseases while biosecurity concentrates on the exclusion and detection of exotic pests and diseases. This is reflected in the project which includes designing and implementing a cooperative forest health and biosecurity surveillance system and developing calibrated pest spread and potential economic impact models.

In February 2020, Dianne Patzel was recruited by UniSA as the forest biosecurity officer located at the UniSA Campus in Mount Gambier. Dianne’s primary role is aligned with delivering the outcomes of the NIFPI project. She is also be available to forest growers to assist with tree disorder diagnostics and advice.  Dianne comes to the project as a local forester with experience in both pine and Tasmanian blue gum having worked within the forestry industry since 2006 in both the Green Triangle and south west WA. 

Our team:  Jeff Connor, Courtney Regan, Jim O'Hehir, Dianne Patzel, Braden Jenkin (Sylva Systems Pty Ltd), David Smith (Agriculture Victoria), John Weiss (Agriculture Victoria), Kathryn Sheffield (Agriculture Victoria), Anna Weeks (Agriculture Victoria), Rudi Hoffman (Agriculture Victoria)

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Dianne Patzel at work in the field


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