Tina Schroeder is a passionate ecologist now applying her expertise and interests in ecological monitoring, conservation, and restoration in the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor.
Tina has completed two of her three year PhD research. She’s investigating ecosystem function and biodiversity recovery of our biodiverse carbon plantings close to Perenjori, a wheatbelt town in Western Australia.
Tina’s project seeks to measure recovery of revegetated and abandoned farmland to see if we can fully restore ecosystem functions and biodiversity in Acacia and York Gum woodlands. Her research will focus on measuring soil properties to assess ecosystem functions such as decomposition, nutrient cycling and water retention, as well as diversity and abundance of ground-dwelling invertebrates.
This type of research will be highly valuable to Carbon Neutral as it will show the impact revegetation has on native flora and fauna, as large-scale land clearing has changed landscapes through loss of top soil, soil moisture and changes in overall water balance.
Soil structure has a clear impact on tree survivability, which is relevant to Carbon Neutral's Yarra Yarra biodiverse tree plantings. Additionally, biodiversity in birds and insects is an area of interest in restored land, so methods that assess land suitability are always a promising area of research.
Revegetated sites can take a long time (100+ years) to mature and to provide similar habitat characteristics as intact remnant vegetation. Leaf litter, woody debris and logs all take a long time to accumulate, which reduces the suitability of revegetated sites for litter-dependant fauna such as Malleefowl.
An example of the high abundance and richness of invertebrate species is the identification of a total of 145 species of ants (Formicidae) across four subfamilies and five functional groups found on the sites. The highest abundance and richness of ant species was found in the remnant woodland sites; however revegetated sites had a more biodiverse ant fauna compared to cleared sites.
Tina’s project will also explore whether management actions such as the addition of mulch and wood as substitutes for leaf litter and woody debris can assist the recovery of ecosystem function and diversity.
In a separate study for Carbon Neutral, Tina used camera trapping to survey fauna inhabiting Carbon Neutral revegetation properties across the Yarra Yarra Corridor. We were very excited that Tina was able to confirm the presence of the threatened Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) in two locations on our Terra Grata property.
Tina lives on Bush Heritage-owned Eucardy Reserve, north of Geraldton with husband Ben and their new baby Liam. She is continuing her research in partnership with Murdoch University, the local NRM: NACC, and Bush Heritage.