Victoria’s Regional Forest Agreements: Conservation of Soil and Water Resources

July 22, 2019 |
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Victoria’s Regional Forest Agreements: Conservation of Soil and Water Resources

25 July 2019 @ 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Join us for the fourth in this series of public lectures, looking at the scientific evidence base informing the modernisation of Victoria’s Regional Forest Agreements.

The Victorian Government is investing in science and data to better understand the range of forest values in Victoria and the systems and processes which underpin forest management, planning and decision making. Over the next four years, the Victorian Government will be partnering with Traditional Owners, and engaging with Victorian communities and stakeholders, to inform the modernisation of Victoria’s Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) and the forest management system they accredit.

You will hear from scientific experts leading the assessment of Victoria’s public forest values and join the panel discussion to follow.

At this lecture, speakers will be addressing Criterion 4 of the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability’s State of the Forests Report, “Conservation and Maintenance of Soil and Water Resources.” This criterion assesses the area and percentage of forest by activity type for risk to soil attributes, the change in forested catchment water yield characteristics through time, and the change in forested catchment river health characteristics through time.

*Livestream available from about 1:30pm on the day from the Royal Society of Victoria’s Facebook site: *


  • “Forests and Water: Challenges, uncertainties and decisions.” – Patrick Lane
  • “Remember the Millennium Drought? Well, so do our rivers…” – Rachel Brown and Tim Peterson.
  • “Climate risks and science-policy interface dilemmas in Australia’s Murray Darling Basin” – Jason Alexandra

Other topics to be confirmed closer to the date.

About the Speakers:

Dr René Van der Sant

René is a post-fire runoff and erosion processes specialist, who currently works with Melbourne Water managing forested water supply catchments. She has professional experience with forest and bushfire management, and has been involved in Bushfire Rapid Risk Assessment Teams over the past season. Her PhD research at the University of Melbourne focused on the effect of landscape aridity on post-fire hydrogeomorphic processes, and predicting runoff and erosion events in forested water catchments.

Professor Patrick Lane

Patrick is a Professor at the University of Melbourne’s School of Ecosystem and Forest Science. His research examines the effect of forest growth dynamics and disturbances such as fire on the amount and quality of water from forested catchments.

Jason Alexandra

Jason is a farmer, consultant and researcher. He has held senior roles in national and international organisations including the Murray Darling Basin Authority where his responsibilities included climate science and riverine ecosystem management. He has coordinated national R&D programs on climate, water, vegetation and biodiversity and initiated the citizen science program ClimateWatch. He is currently undertaking research on climate change and water governance. As Managing Director of Alexandra & Associates, Jason has completed over 120 research and consulting projects focused on sustainability and natural resources. Most of his papers and reports are available at

Dr Tim Peterson

Tim is a research fellow in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne. His research focus is on making better use of existing hydrological data for public-good outcomes, including to understand long-term catchment dynamics and to challenge existing assumptions within hydrology. After a BEnvEng and BSc (Monash), and professional experience at SKM Consulting, he completed a PhD in hydrological resilience at the University of Melbourne (2009). Since 2010 he has held an ARC Post-Doctoral Fellowship, led multiple industry funded projects, been a chief investigator on multiple ARC Linkage projects with DELWP and taught the core Environmental Engineering Masters subject “Quantitative Environmental Modelling” (2010-2017) at the University of Melbourne.

Rachel Brown

Rachel is a Senior Project Officer in the Hydrology and Climate Science Team within DELWP’s Water and Catchments Group. The team coordinates the Victorian Water and Climate Initiative, which supports research into the impact of climate change and climate variability on Victoria’s water resources. This includes three distinct but related research projects being undertaken by the University of Melbourne, CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. Rachel’s role includes close interactions with the researchers and as a knowledge broker to help share the scientific outcomes with the water sector through practical advice and guidance.


The Royal Society of Victoria
8 Latrobe Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
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