Mr. Doug Binns (Flora Ecologist, Forests NSW)

Biography/achievements of interest:

My main achievements have been: establishing more systematic collection and analysis of vegetation data in NSW State forests at a time when those data were collected infrequently and haphazardly; my contributions to what I perceive as a rational consideration of flora conservation requirements in several major regional assessments in NSW; and, my contribution to establishing the Eden burning study area, as one of the major long-term ecological experiments in NSW forests.

Research undertaken in our region:

I have conducted two main areas of research. One is the survey and classification of vegetation, particularly for the purpose of assessments of conservation significance. The other is research of fire and forestry effects on vegetation, particularly floristic composition. A list of relevant reports and papers is attached.

Presentation title: Weirs and white elephants: a comparison of two long-term vegetation research projects

A comparison of two long-term projects to investigate fire and logging impact on vegetation in the Eden region. The projects are both in Yambulla SF, about 30 km south west of Eden. One took advantage of a catchment-scale project set up for hydrology research, but it was not a replicated design. The other was designed as an operational-scale, replicated experiment to investigate fire and logging effects on vegetation and other ecosystem components such as fuels, several faunal groups and soil nutrients. I propose to briefly discuss the main results from these projects and compare their strengths and weaknesses.

Personal objectives as regards  science:

I see the main value of science as improving knowledge by providing information, and by structuring the collection and interpretation of information so that it can be transformed into knowledge as consistently and objectively as context and personal belief allows. Knowledge provided by science has intrinsic value for communities simply because learning, interpreting information and obtaining knowledge is enjoyable. However, science also serves a practical necessity. For example, the science of taxonomy provides one of the basic foundations on which conservation management and resource-use decisions depend. As a further example, if ecological information is required to manage a species to maintain its population, science provides a way of interpreting observations in an objective and consistent manner, to increase the likelihood that appropriate management decisions are possible, even if social or other factors prevent their implementation.



Your perspective on science and its value to/for communities:

My underlying motivation is conservation of species and my objective is to use scientific endeavour to improve flora conservation in the context of human resource use. I accept that the level of resource use is mostly beyond my influence. Most of my working life has been related to forestry activities and has sometimes involved potential conflict between my personal motivation and my professional duties. I have tried to use science so that the potential for forestry management to achieve flora conservation is maximised where benefits are possible and so that, where adverse effects may occur, they are assessed as objectively as possible so that ameliorative efforts are appropriately prioritised and achieve most benefit.

Reports and papers, research in south coast forests, D. Binns:

Binns, D.L. (1984).  Eden catchment project 1984 review.  A summary of vegetation studies.  For. Comm. N.S.W. Misc. Paper 964.

Cornish, P.M. and Binns, D.L. (1987).  Streamwater quality following logging and wildfire in a dry sclerophyll forest in south-eastern Australia.  For. Ecol. Manage. 22: 1-28.

Binns, D.L. (1988).  A preliminary list of vascular plant species for far south-eastern N.S.W.  For. Comm. N.S.W. Res. Pap. No. 4. 87 pp.

Braithwaite, L.W., Binns, D.L. and Nowlan, R.D. (1988).  The distribution of arboreal marsupials in relation to eucalypt forest types in the Eden (NSW) woodchip concession area.  Aust. Wildl. Res. 15: 363-373.

Binns, D.L. and Kavanagh, R.P. (1990).  Flora and fauna survey of Nalbaugh State Forest (part), Bombala District, Eden Region, south-eastern NSW.  For. Comm. NSW For. Res. Series No. 9. 100 pp.

Binns, D.L. and Kavanagh, R.P. (1990).  Flora and fauna survey of Nullica State Forest (part), Eden District, Eden Region, south-eastern NSW.  For. Comm. NSW For. Res. Series No. 10. 130 pp.

Penman, T.D., Kavanagh, R.P., Binns, D.L. and Melick, D.R. (2007). Patchiness of prescribed burns in dry sclerophyll forests in South-eastern Australia. Forest Ecology and Management 252:24-32.

Penman, T.D., Binns, D.L. and Kavanagh, R.P. (2008). Quantifying successional changes in response to forest disturbances. Applied Vegetation Science 11: 261-268.

Penman, T.D., Binns, D.L., Shiels, R.J., Allen, R.M. and Kavanagh, R.P. (2008). Changes in understorey plant species richness following logging and prescribed burning in shrubby dry sclerophyll forests of south-eastern Australia. Austral Ecology 33: 197-210.

Penman, T.D., Binns, D.L., Brassil, T.E., Shiels, R.J. and Allen, R.M. (2009). Long-term changes in understorey vegetation in the absence of wildfire in south-east dry sclerophyll forests. Australian Journal of Botany 57: 533-540.

Penman, T.D., Binns, D.L. and Kavanagh, R.P. (2009). Patch-occupancy modeling as a method for monitoring changes in forest floristics: a case study in southeastern Australia. Conservation Biology 23(3): 740-749.

Penman, T.D., Binns, D.L., Shiels, R.J., Allen, R.M. and Penman, S.H. (2011). Hidden effects of forest management practices: responses of a soil stored seed bank to logging and repeated prescribed fire. Austral Ecology 36: 571-580.