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Forest scientists bringing new solutions to the environment, business and future


Sharlene King
16 March 2021

Timber Queensland is marking International Day of Forests on March 21 by celebrating and acknowledging the work of its scientists, including Southern Cross University graduate Alison Dillon.

The forest sector provides wonderful opportunities for a science career in the natural environment, says Timber Queensland’s Strategic Relations & Communications Manager Clarissa Brandt.

“Forestry is such an exciting sector to work in because it provides challenging work using innovative technology and a great balance of being in the great outdoors and an office environment,” said Clarissa.

The United Nation’s International Day of Forests, celebrated each year on March 21, raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests.

Foresters like Alison Dillon are providing innovative and creative solutions by using their scientific expertise.

Alison is a planning forester for HQPlantations, Queensland’s largest plantation forest grower.

She studied forest science and management at Southern Cross and said forestry combines many science disciplines.

“Sustainable forest management relies on botany, biology, geology, chemistry, mathematics, biometrics, meteorology, geography and understanding different ecosystem types. In my planning role, I also regularly use GIS*-based mapping products and interpret LiDAR* data,” said Alison.

“I love the variety my job offers, everyday I’m doing something different out in the field, in the office, meeting with neighbours and Aboriginal Elders, mapping – it’s great. I’m making a difference, protecting the forest and contributing to carbon capture through growing wood products.”

Alison inspects water quality (credit: HQPlantations).


Did you know Australia is the sixth most forested country in the world?

Alison says Australia’s forests and forest industries are in need of talented young people to carry on the work of maintaining our ecosystem values and playing a critical role in the management of our forests.

“I would encourage all women to consider studying science and working in forestry, as it is a really rewarding way to connect with your environment and make a difference,” said Alison.

Study forestry at Southern Cross University

Want to pursue a career in forestry like Alison? Our Bachelor of Science offers a specialisation in Forestry Systems. Learn more.

*GIS and LIDAR are tools used by forest scientists. GIS - or geographic information system - is a framework for collecting, managing and analysing spatial and non-spatial data. LIDAR - which stands for light detection and ranging - is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances).


Media contact: Sharlene King, media office at Southern Cross University, 0429 661 349 or