Professor Bob Hill was recently interviewed by the Adelaidean about his research into the interaction of climate change and botany. Research into how our vegetation has evolved as a result of fire in our landscape, and fossil records, are giving us the clues to learn more about climate change.
In an effort to understand how climate change is effecting the Australian landscape now, and what we need to do to restore it, it is important to understand how the landscape responded to temperature changes in the past. Fossil records show that eucalypts (originally from Argentinia and New Zealand) started to spread across Australia 25,000 years ago when rainfall dropped and fires became more frequent.
It is unknown what plants grew in the Adelaide Hills prior to the eucalyptus. Changes to original vegetation caused by the spread of eucalypts in the landscape also worsened with European settlement.
Professor Hill believes, “this makes a really good case for more research on nature vegetation so we know what to put back.”
Professor Bob Hill is the University of Adelaide’s Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Director of the Environment Institute.
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