Meet Court Campany: The Ecophysiologist Behind Tree Stock

Court Campany and Ethyl Horton at Manor Nursery, SA.

Court Campany and Ethyl Horton at Manor Nursery, SA.

Over recent months, Court Campany and his research team at Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment have been busy travelling around the country, visiting nurseries to collect information that will help to refine tree stock standards.

On track to reach their goal of measuring 15,000 trees, the team’s efforts will provide greater assurance regarding tree stock size and quality, ultimately helping growers and buyers to better produce and purchase trees that are fit for Australia’s diverse climatic regions.

Dr Campany has a Bachelor and Masters of Sciences in the United States, and a Doctor of Philosophy at Western Sydney University, and believes his team can play a key role in bridging the gap in available knowledge on the performance of trees across different climatic regions in Australia.

His previous work involved conducting large climate change experiments focussing on ecosystems and climate systems. He has researched the individual tree level, whole tree chambers and run experiments on plant physiology.

He has also investigated carbon allocation and budgeting in plants, focussing on the mechanisms that drive tree growth, as well as the carbon that trees take up for photosynthesis and how that’s distributed throughout the plant.

Court Campany

Court Campany, NT.

It was his range of experiences and breadth of knowledge in environmental and agricultural sciences that made him the ideal project leader, and his PhD into eucalypt tree growth and container effects on trees set up the foundations to the tree stock project.

Formally known as the Evaluation of Nursery Tree Stock Balance Parameters (NY15001), the project is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the nursery industry levy and funds from the Australian Government.

The project has been established due to an ever increasing need for high quality trees from landscape nurseries to urban environments. As the size index ranges in the current tree stock standard are very narrow, Dr Campany’s aim is to capture as much variation across species as possible, and put as much data behind it as possible for the industry.

The existing standard shows a simple exponential relationship between a tree’s size and its soil volume. However, the team is expecting significantly greater variation between a tree’s size index range (trunk caliper compared to height) and the container volume.

The data is still to be analysed once the nurseries visits in all states have been completed in the new year, but the initial observations being made at the field sites back up the need for further information to fine-tune the tree stock standard.

Project Code: NY15001

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