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Catherine Pohlman, Ph.D.

Resident Lecturer in Principles of Forest Management

Australia & New Zealand

EDUCATION

Ph.D. in Plant Ecology and Biogeography,
James Cook University (Australia)

B.S. with Honours, Plant Ecology and Biogeography,
The Australian National University



TEACHING

  • SFS 3690 Principles of Forest Management
  • SFS 4910 Directed Research
  • SFS 3540 Rainforest Management Studies
  • SFS 3550 Techniques for Rainforest Research

 

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS/APPOINTMENTS

  • Member The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (2005 – present)
  • Member of the Ecological Society of Australia (2001 – present)
  • Adjunct Research Fellow, James Cook University (2010 – present)

 

FACULTY PROFILE

I grew up on a sugarcane farm in south-east Queensland (Australia), about 1400 km SE of the Centre for Rainforest Studies. I’ve worked as a laboratory technician at CSIRO, an occasional (and unpaid) farm hand for my parents, a postdoctoral research fellow at James Cook University and the University of Technology, Sydney, and as a lecturer at the School for Field Studies. My research interests include plant community ecology, tropical rainforest plant ecology, rainforest microclimates, biogeography, human influences on rainforest plant communities, plant functional ecology and ecophysiology, and restoration ecology. Projects I am currently working on with my colleagues at CRS include a study of forest ecology at the Robson Creek 25 ha permanent plot, examining the long-term effects of “selective logging”, a study of secondary succession in rainforest, and various projects to determine the effectiveness of different restoration methods.

 

SFS RESEARCH

The research conducted at SFS field stations is designed to answer key questions related to critical and related social and environmental problems and to provide our hosts with detailed and accurate information for decision making and action. Faculty and student research projects are linked to the Center’s Five-Year Research Plan, which defines an overarching research directive.

 

Project I: Plant Ecology and Primary Rainforest
A 25-ha permanent research plot has been established by the CSIRO in selectively logged rainforest on the Atherton Tableland (Robson Creek, Danbulla National Park). SFS students assisted CSIRO staff to perform the first complete census of trees ≥10 cm dbh between 2011 and 2013 across the entire 25 ha plot. We are also monitoring the long-term dynamics of seedlings and saplings in two subplots (1 ha each) that were subjected to slightly different selective logging regimes.

 

Project II: Secondary Succession on the Atherton Tablelands
SFS is contributing to a study (by JCU) on patterns of plant species composition and vegetation structure in secondary (regrowth) rainforests on the Atherton Tablelands. We are establishing a chronosequence of sites of different ages on different soil types on abandoned pasturelands to examine how these regrowth forests change over time and whether patterns of change differ between soil types or with other landscape factors.

Outputs:

Pohlman, C.L., Goosem, M., Laurance, S.G., Goosem, S., Laurance, W.F., Preece, N. and Fensham, R. (2014) Rainforest secondary succession on the Atherton Tablelands: some preliminary results. Poster presented at the 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Cairns, Australia.

 

Project III: Kickstart Pasture Conversion Project

A pilot study of a number of assisted natural revegetation techniques is currently being conducted in the southern Atherton Tablelands to determine whether less-intensive (and hopefully less expensive) approaches to restoration can be as successful as high-diversity tree plantings. The techniques being examined include suppressing competition from pasture grasses and invasive shrubs (e.g. Lantana camara and Solanum mauritianum) and providing structures for frugivorous birds (i.e. artificial bird perches and the remains of poisoned invasive shrubs) to encourage seed dispersal into restoration sites.

Outputs:

Elgar, A.T., Freebody, K., Pohlman, C.L., Shoo, L.P. & Catterall, C.P. (2014) Overcoming barriers to seedling regeneration during forest restoration on tropical pasture land and the potential value of woody weeds. Frontiers in Plant Science 5: 200. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00200. URL: http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpls.2014.00200/abstract

Project IV: Restoring an Abandoned Lychee Plantation

An abandoned plantation of lychee trees was present on the CRS property when the property was purchased by SFS in 1988. A mixture of invasive shrubs and native pioneer saplings have since established in this abandoned plantation. We are establishing an experiment to test a variety of restoration techniques, to explore which techniques most successfully assist rainforest regeneration in the plantation over the long term.

 

PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS (Updated January 2015)

Publications

Elgar, A.T., Freebody, K., Pohlman, C.L., Shoo, L.P. & Catterall, C.P. (2014) Overcoming barriers to seedling regeneration during forest restoration on tropical pasture land and the potential value of woody weeds. Frontiers in Plant Science 5: 200. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00200. URL: http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpls.2014.00200/abstract

Pohlman, C.L., Turton, S.M. and Goosem, M. (2009) Temporal variation in microclimatic edge effects near powerlines, highways and streams in Australian tropical rainforest. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 149: 84 – 95.

Pohlman, C.L., Goosem, M. and Turton, S.M. (2008) Effects of Severe Tropical Cyclone Larry on rainforest vegetation and understorey microclimate near roads, powerlines and streams. Austral Ecology 33: 503 – 515.

Pohlman, C.L., Turton, S.M. and Goosem, M. (2007) Edge Effects of Linear Canopy Openings on Rainforest Understorey Microclimate. Biotropica 39: 62 – 71.

Pohlman, C.L., Nicotra, A.B. and Murray B.R. (2005) Geographic range size, seedling ecophysiology and phenotypic plasticity in Australian Acacia species. Journal of Biogeography 32: 341 – 351.

 

Presentations

July 2014: “The Future of Tropical Biology and Conservation.” 51st Annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), Cairns, QLD. Poster, “Rainforest secondary succession on the Atherton Tablelands: some preliminary results.”

December 2010: Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA), Canberra, ACT. Poster, “Internal fragmentation in the tropics: the edge effects of linear clearings on plant communities in tropical rainforest and savanna.”

July 2010: “Tropical biodiversity: surviving the food, energy and climate crisis.” Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Sanur Beach, Bali, Indonesia. 15 minute presentation, “Edge effects of powerline clearings on rainforest and savanna plant communities.”

August 2009: “Ecology in a Changing Climate: Two hemispheres – One Globe”, 10th International Congress of Ecology (INTECOL, the International Association for Ecology), held in Brisbane, Queensland. 15 minute presentation, “Prioritisation of rainforest remnants for conservation and restoration using two assessment methods.” Poster presentation, “Do photosynthetic responses to leaf temperature differ between and within plant species with wide and restricted elevational distributions?”

December 2008: Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA), Sydney, NSW. 15 minute presentation, “Edge effects of powerline clearings on dry sclerophyll woodland.”

November 2007: Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA), Perth, Western Australia. 20 minute presentation, “Is cyclone damage greater near the edges of roads, powerlines and streams than in the interior of tropical rainforest?”

June 2007: Rainforest Recovery Forum, Griffith University, Brisbane (Landcare Australia, SEQ Catchments, Griffith University). 15 minute presentation, “Internal fragmentation in the rainforest: the effects of clearings for highways and powerlines on tropical rainforest plant communities.”

March 2007: Inaugural conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Mahabalipuram, India. 20 minute presentation, “Is cyclone damage greater near the edges of roads, powerlines and streams than in the interior of tropical rainforest?”