Research areas

The Centre focus is on research activities aiming at securing the environmental sustainability of water and landscape resources in the face of increasing climate and human stresses. This research is highly complex and interdisciplinary, requiring expertise in a broad range of areas.

Climate change and human impacts on landscapes and water resources

Our track record on different aspects of the complex problematic of climate and human impacts allows us to tackle in a holistic interdisciplinary approach its effects on landscapes (accounting for spatial and temporal dynamics of vegetation, water redistribution, soil carbon) and on water resources (particularly related to future extreme climate events).

Hydroclimatic data analysis and paleoclimatic reconstruction

We have been successful in overcoming the limitations of the instrumental hydroclimatic data record (~100 years) by extending it using paleodata. This allows us to develop statistically meaningful predictions and estimations of uncertainty of future environmental conditions over the whole lifespan of infrastructure and rehabilitation projects.

Remote sensing (RS) for environmental sustainability and water security

We have ample experience in the use of conventional environmental RS products for land and vegetation mapping and modelling and we have access to numerous datasets from NASA and Government agencies. We are continuously developing scaling tools for modelling as well as ground-truthing capabilities and we are expanding our RS program using the newest water-focussed products and our own UAV-based data to support modelling.

Prediction and management tools for water security

Our research and tested methods are being implemented in a variety of managed water systems optimising water provision, water sharing and environmental allocations. We are pioneering the incorporation of natural processes and feedbacks, both climatic and biotic, into water resources management tools.

River, wetlands and coast restoration and vulnerability

We are world leaders in the restoration and monitoring of endangered environmental systems like coral reefs, rivers and wetlands, both in Australia and internationally. We are further developing this research area by incorporating uncertainty and risk due to climate and human pressures.

Mining rehabilitation and compensatory habitat

We have more than 15 years of research and consulting experience on mine rehabilitation, mostly on issues of land degradation. We are expanding our capabilities to other aspects of mine operations based on our work on ecohydrologic rehabilitation of decommissioned mine sites and on compensatory habitat related to coal loading facilities.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.