Dr Heather Keith

Research Fellow, Fenner School of Environment & Society
ANU College of Science

My general research interests and experience include soil-microbe-plant-atmospheric processes of carbon, nutrient and water cycling and integration to whole ecosystem functioning; resource availability and forest productivity; integration across a range of scales; fire ecology; and sustainable management of natural resources.

Recently, I have completed a major multi-disciplinary project on carbon cycling in native forests and the effects of climate variability and disturbance on ecosystem pools and fluxes. These results provide insights into the processes controlling the net biosphere atmosphere exchange of carbon.

Currently, I am working on carbon sequestration in native forests with the aim of maximising the value of carbon sinks in vegetation and soils. This includes conserving the very large carbon stocks in undisturbed ecosystems and identifying land management options to increase carbon sinks. Quantifying the carbon sequestration potential of natural ecosystems will contribute the scientific understanding required for policy development and market assessment of post-Kyoto greenhouse accounting and emissions offsetting. I am interested in the biophysical processes that determine the vulnerability of carbon sinks in vegetation and soil, and applying this knowledge to adaptive land management. This involves conservation planning that accounts for climate change and variability.