Mr David Blair

Senior Research Officer



Dave Blair grew up on a farm in north-east Victoria.  He completed Forest Science at Melbourne University going on to work as an environmental consultant, writer and photographer. He spent a year in Canada and another in the rainforests of Indonesia before returning to Victoria where he specialised in native vegetation, weed and wildfire management, consulting for local government and private landholders.  In 2009, following the Black Saturday bushfires, he began working for the Australian National University as a field ecologist.  In addition to working full time, Dave is currently doing further studies on post fire and post logging vegetation recovery.  He was also part of the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) standards development group that wrote the national standard for Australia in 2016.  Dave lives in Healesville, Victoria, near the Mountain Ash forests he studies.

You can read more about Dave and his research at


Research interests


PhD thesis title:  Comparisons of vegetation recovery post fire, logging and salvage logging in the Victorian Central Highlands.

Summary of thesis

Study 1 compares the plant species richness and response of functional groups to both logging (green clearfell and salvage) and fire (high and low severity) where the resprouting group, mid storey trees and ferns are disproportionately affected by logging, leaving the forest with a greatly simplified structure and loss of species.

Study 2 measures growth rates of the two main tree fern species within the ash forests.  It found environmental variables such as slope, aspect and altitude has limited effect on tree fern growth, however initial height had the greatest effect, presumably as a response to additional light.

Study 3 focuses on forest succession and looks at changes in plant functional group representation in forest of different ages, having regenerated after fires in 2009, 1983, 1939 and pre 1850.

Study 4 looks at the effects of forest age prior to a large wildfire in 2009 and the effects that has on post-fire regeneration.  The study looks at 2009 regrowth in forest that was 26, 70 and 150+ years old at the time of the fire.




Selected Publications

Blair, D.P., McBurney, L., Blanchard, W., Banks, S. C. & Lindenmayer, D.B. (2016). Disturbance gradient shows logging affects plant functional groups more than fire. Ecological Applications. 26 (3), 2280-2301.

Lindenmayer, D. B., Blanchard, W., Blair, D., McBurney, L., & Banks, S. (2016). Environmental and human drivers influencing large old tree abundance in Australian wet forests. Forest Ecology and Management. 372, 226-235.

Lindenmayer, D. B., Wood, J., McBurney, L., Blair, D., & Banks, S. C. (2015). Single large versus several small: The SLOSS debate in the context of bird responses to a variable retention logging experiment. Forest Ecology and Management. 339, 1-10.

Burns, E. L., Lindenmayer, D. B., Stein, J., Blanchard, W., McBurney, L., Blair, D., & Banks, S. C. (2015). Ecosystem assessment of mountain ash forest in the Central Highlands of Victoria, south‐eastern Australia. Austral Ecology. 40, 386-399.

Lindenmayer, D. B., Blair, D.P., McBurney, L., & Banks, S.C. (2015). The need for a comprehensive reassessment of Regional Forest Agreements in Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology. 21(4), 266-270.

Lindenmayer, D. B., Blair, D., McBurney, L., & Banks, S. (2014). Preventing the Extinction of an Iconic Globally Endangered Species-Leadbeater's Possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri). Journal of Biodiversity & Endangered Species. 2(4). 

Lindenmayer, D. B., Blanchard, W., McBurney, L., Blair, D., Banks, S. C., Driscoll, D. A., Smith, A.L., & Gill, A. M. (2014). Complex responses of birds to landscape‐level fire extent, fire severity and environmental drivers. Diversity and distributions. 20(4), 467-477.

Lindenmayer, D.B., Blair, D., McBurney, L., Banks, S.C., Stein, J.A.R., Hobbs, R.J., Likens, G.E. and Franklin, J.F. (2014). Principles and practices for biodiversity conservation and restoration forestry: a 30 year case study on the Victorian montane ash forests and the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum. Australian Zoologist. 36, 441-460. 

Keith, H., Lindenmayer, D., Mackey, B., Blair, D., Carter, L., McBurney, L., Okada, S., & Konishi-Nagano, T. (2014). Managing temperate forests for carbon storage: impacts of logging versus forest protection on carbon stocks. Ecosphere. 5(6).

Lindenmayer, D.B., Laurance, W.F., Franklin, J.F., Likens, G.E., Banks, S.C., Blanchard, W., Gibbons, P., Ikin, K., Blair, D., McBurney, L., Manning, A.D. & Stein, J.A.R. (2014). New policies for old trees: averting a global crisis in a keystone ecological structure. Conservation Letters. 7, 61-69.

Smith, A.L., Blair, D.P., McBurney, L., Banks, S. C., Barton, P.S., Blanchard, W., Driscoll, D.A., Gill, M & Lindenmayer, D.B. (2014). Dominant drivers of seeling establishment in a fire-dependent obligate seeder: climate or fire regimes? Ecosystems, 17(2), 258-270.

Banks, S. C., Knight, E. J., McBurney, L., Blair, D., & Lindenmayer, D. B. (2011). The effects of wildfire on mortality and resources for an arboreal marsupial: resilience to fire events but susceptibility to fire regime change. PloS ONE. 6(8).

Updated:  23 March 2018/Responsible Officer:  Director Fenner School/Page Contact:  Webmaster Fenner School