Emeritus Professor, Department of Archaeology and Natural History; Visiting Fellow, Fenner Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University

My research assesses the past impact of people on landscapes by measuring vegetation change (using pollen, charcoal and phytoliths) and geomorphic consequences—erosion, silting and shifts in production. I am also interested in the roles of climate change and fire on human responses and adaptability. I am currently assessing the long term fire regimes in east Kalimantan, Myanmar, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji in relation to their very different human settlement histories. I am also involved in measuring climate change in high altitude sites across New Guinea using glacial histories. I am also contributing to pollen and other microfossil databases for the south west Pacific region and a cooperative pollen description for the Indo-Pacific. A further interest is the peatlands of SE Asia and Australia in terms of wetland process, extent, carbon sequestration values and rehabilitation after burning or clearing. This work aims to contribute practical help for control of greenhouse emissions and solutions to problems of land management and biodiversity conservation.

Experience

  • 2008–2017
    Emeritus professor, Australian National University