Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited the University of New England on the 8th December 2016. He was shown ICT International’s (SFM1) Sap Flow Meter by Dr Rhiannon Smith who is currently using the SFM1 for her research on River Red Gums.
The SFM1 is proving vital to the valuable and environmentally important research being conducted by many scientists globally to better understand the impact of climate change on native vegetation.
It is the innovative technology that is present in regional NSW in such as places as the University of New England’s SMART Farm Project and ICT International, both based in Armidale NSW, that help form decisions to re-locate government agricultural research business to Armidale NSW.
After being shown the technology in use at the SMART Farm with Professor David Lamb and Dr Rhiannon Smith, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Australian agriculture as being at “the cutting edge of innovation”.
Dr Smith is using the SFM1 to better understand the water use and drought response of old growth River Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) in the Namoi & Gwydir catchments.
The river red gum has the most widespread natural distribution of any eucalypt species in Australia, forming extensive forests and woodlands in the south-east and providing the structural and functional elements of important floodplain and wetland ecosystems. Along ephemeral creeks in arid central Australia it forms narrow corridors, providing vital refuge in the form of habitat and food resources for a whole host of animals in an otherwise hostile, arid environment.