Papua New Guinea Rainforest: Elizabeth Pryde

James Cook University (JCU) PhD student Elizabeth Pryde has also been provided funding by the Foundation for the past two years.

Funding for her project: "Does a native timber plantation in Papua New Guinea, and its surrounding rainforest matrix, provide sustainable habitat for local avifauna?" is also supported by JCU, Australian and Pacific Science Foundation (APSF) and the Oregon Zoo Foundation (Future for Wildlife Conservation).

This research forms part of an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scholarship, which is awarded to students of exceptional research potential undertaking a Higher Degree by Research (HDR).

The project, which is the first to be funded by the Foundation outside of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area, in Tropical North Queensland, Australia, aims to:

  • Assess the occurrence of forest-interior and generalist bird species in primary and secondary (logged-over) rainforest, native timber (E.deglupta) plantations and buffer zones, at a timber operation and its surrounding landscape in East New Britian.
  • Determine how species assemblages differ with respect to different habitat indexes.
  • Assess the extent to which each habitat type is utilised by different bird species. (e.g. breeding and foraging).
  • Communicate the results to the local landowners and discuss the impacts of native timber plantations and logging on wildlife and vegetation.
  • Use this data to prescribe preliminary guidelines for native timber plantation certification Papua New Guinea, with an emphasis on preserving many rare, endemic rainforest species on New Britain Island.

The project is expected to yield highly original results which will feed into current CSIRO work on biodiversity monitoring and planning in Papua New Guinea, and is expected to produce several high quality publications.