bushfires eucalypt woodlands fire behaviour fire ecology forest management landscape ecology monitoring silviculture smoke

Email Lachie

+61 8 9771 7998

+61 8 9777 1183
Street Address
Brain Street, Manjimup WA 6258, Australia
Postal Address
Locked Bag 2, Manjimup WA 6258, Australia


Role: Senior Principal Research Scientist with the Science and Conservation Division. Leader of the Ecosystem Science program coordinating the work of scientific and technical staff based at six work centres throughout Western Australia.

Research interests: I have worked as a scientist for 36 years studying aspects of the behaviour and ecological effects of fire in forests, shrublands and semi-arid woodlands in Western Australia. From 1996 to 2007 I was the principal Western Australian scientific investigator for Project Vesta a large-scale collaborative forest fire experiment involving CSIRO, state agencies and international scientists. Project Vesta investigated the behaviour and spread of high intensity bushfires in dry eucalypt forests with different fuel ages and understorey vegetation structures and was designed to quantify age-related changes in fuel attributes and fire behaviour in dry eucalypt forests. In February 2009 I joined a team of fire scientists assembled by the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre to undertake initial investigation into aspects of the behaviour of the Victorian bushfires of Black Saturday 7 February 2009, and subsequently provided expert advice to the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission in relation to the effect of prescribed burning in mitigating the severity of these bushfires.

I have broad research interests in a variety of areas related to management of the natural environment including:

  • monitoring the response of forests and woodlands to silvicultural practices and natural disturbance events
  • climate, fire weather and interactions between bushfires and the atmosphere
  • fire regimes in semi-arid landscapes
  • dendrochronology and climate reconstruction

Academic qualification: Bachelor of Forest Science (Hons.) from the University of Melbourne (1979), and a PhD from the University of New South Wales (1997).

I am a Registered Professional Forester (#11)  with the Institute of Foresters of Australia having expertise in forest science and silvicultural practices. Current Chairman of the Western Australian Division of the Institute, and member of the National Board.

Associate Editor for the International Journal of Wildland Fire since 2010.

Member of the Royal Society of Western Australia and the International Association of Wildland Fire.


  • Fire behaviour and management in forests, woodlands and shrublands
  • Fire ecology in forests, woodlands and shrublands
  • Silviculture of native forests
  • Forest monitoring

Brief CV

Positions held within Science Division:

  • Program Leader, Karri program 1986-1987
  • Manager, Manjimup Research Centre 1988-1997
  • Section Manager, Natural Products 1995-1997
  • Project Leader, Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management 1998-2004
  • Program Leader, Landscape Conservation 2004-2013
  • Program Leader, Ecosystem Science 2014 to the present

Co-supervised students:

  • Alison O' Donnell (PhD, University of Western Australia, 2011) Fire patterns and vegetation structure in semi-arid woodlands and shrublands in southern Western Australia
  • Jennifer Hollis (PhD, University of New South Wales, 2011) Coarse woody fuel availability and consumption in Australian forest fires
  • Jeff Cargill (PhD, Edith Cowan University, 2014) Fate of Eucalyptus marginata seed from canopy store to emergence in the northern jarrah forest of Western Australia
  • Mika Peace (PhD, University of Adelaide, 2014) Simulating coupled fire and atmosphere interactions using the WRF-fire model
  • Hannah Etchells (Hons, University of Western Australia, 2016) Recovery of karri forest after a severe wildfire at Northcliffe, Western Australia




Integrated site-based monitoring of the effects of timber harvesting and silviculture in the jarrah forest (SPP 2006-003)

Long-term stand dynamics of regrowth karri forest in relation to site productivity and climate (SPP 2011-020)

Understanding the changing fire environment of south-west Western Australia (SPP 2014-001)