Falling in love with gnarly river red gums
Agri-Phoenix Feature: Peta Zivec
Name: Peta Zivec
Place: Annerly, Brisbane
I'm Peta Zivec and I am in the final year of my PhD at the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University.
My grandfather came to Australia as a refugee from Italy after WWII and established a vegetable farm on the outskirts of Brisbane, near to Forest Lake. I guess in that sense, the land is in my blood.
The opportunity to work across the Murray-darling basin during my university studies allowed me to fall in love. “The bush” has captured my heart. I am enthralled by the wide open landscapes, huge skies, and gnarly river red gums. Through my studies I have also learned that bush people have very special qualities of warmth and generosity. My love has a hyphenated name: Murray-darling.
I work on mostly cotton farms. My interest is in natural regeneration of abandoned farming areas. Socio-economic and environmental drivers have resulted in significant abandonment of agricultural land around the world. Substantial and urgent revegetation is required in the world’s agricultural landscapes to halt rising biodiversity loss, and to restore critical ecosystem services such as soil and water quality, vegetation cover. These can remediate the effects of climate change.
My enquiry is helping to investigate and understand the most effective methods for restoring vegetation in abandoned farming areas. By studying vegetation which has regrown on its own, my research aims to understand how nature regenerates by itself. I want to map and understand how naturally dispersed seeds contribute to regeneration of vegetation and how flooding and local conditions influence natural regeneration.
Other than my passion for the landscape I have a strong interest in getting young people engaged in Science and Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM. I think how we communicate about science and the ideas behind our scientific investigations is critical to encouraging their interests in building a viable and sustainable future for our landscapes and our people.