Dr Keith McDougall is a botanist with the Office of Environment and Heritage in NSW. He commenced his research career in the Australian Alps with an honours project at La Trobe University in 1978. This was followed by a vegetation classification and mapping project for the Bogong High Plains area with the Soil Conservation Authority in Victoria. After a brief sojourn in WA as a PhD candidate working on Phytophthora cinnamomi, Keith returned to the east coast to work with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in 1997.

In addition to teaching at the Alpine Ecology Course, student supervision and threatened species recovery, Keith’s main involvement in the Australian Alps focuses on invasive plant species and dendrochronology.

He has been co-chair of the Mountain Invasion Research Network (MIREN) since 2008. MIREN aims to 1) evaluate vulnerability of mountain systems towards plant invasions; 2) analyse system-specificity of patterns and processes; 3) understand changes in the mechanisms of plant invasions; 4) predict consequences of climate change for plant invasions; and 5) make its research available to land managers.

Keith is collaborating with Matthew Brookhouse at the Australian National University on dendroclimatological research on the alpine shrub Podocarpus lawrencei. Early results have shown that the annual growth rings of this species are closely related to temperature and snowfall patterns. It may be possible to reconstruct climate in the past 300 years using sections of this shrub.

Contact Keith by email at keith.mcdougall@environment.nsw.gov.au