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CRC for Forestry field site - Pittwater

The Pittwater plantation is a major field site that was used by the CRC for Forestry, in partnership with CSIRO and the Australian Government Department for Climate Change to investigate Eucalyptus plantation productivity under various environmental conditions.


The plantation is located approximately 18 km east of Hobart in south-eastern Tasmania (right). The site was originally a pony club arena, and had had no vegetation growing on it for five to ten years. Initially established in September 2002, as a project of the CRC for Sustainable Production Forestry, to investigate fine root development in Eucalyptus globulus growing in sandy soil, it had immense success, with many publications arising from the work. In 2005, an ARC linkage project to investigate competition between trees of different size classes was also established. In 2006, defoliation experiments were also set up in an attempt to model tree physiological responses (especially carbohydrate allocation) to insect attack.

Project leaders were Dr Michael Battaglia and Dr Caroline Mohammed of CSIRO. They headed up a team of 13 scientistswho worked on about half a dozen different experiments, yielding 23 publications. A brief profile for each member can be viewed here.

The climate was monitored by an automatic weather station, located 100 m north of the site. It measured temperature, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and rainfall. Climate variables at Pittwater were found to be as follows: 

  • Average 35 year rainfall of 512 mm.

  • Annual Class A pan evaporation 1320 mm.
    (The Class A evaporation pan is a universally used standard-sized pan with a diameter of 1.2 m and a depth of 250 mm. When installed, it is elevated 150 mm off the ground. The operating water level is 175-200 mm deep; therefore, the water level in the pan is kept 50-75 mm from the rim. A stilling well located on the side of a Class A pan has a level sensor that is used to record subsequent water differentials after evaporation has occured)

  • Summer (January) maximum temperatures of 22.3 °C

  • Summer (January) minimum temperatures of 11.8 °C

  • Winter (July) maximum temperatures of 12.2 °C

  • Winter (July) minimum temperatures of 4.0 °C