Dr David Freudenberger

Senior Lecturer, Fenner School of Environment & Society
ANU College of Science

Research interests

  • Ecological restoration
  • Woodland ecology
  • Ecosystem services
  • Carbon forestry
  • Monitoring for adaptive management
  • Landscape function analysis
  • Rangeland management
  • Animal nutrition


David has a diverse research career commencing in 1980 conducting an Honours project on long term grassland and shrubland dynamics across the coastal hills of Southern California. This led to an interest in herbivory and digestion applied to MSc research on nutrition in farmed red deer (Lincoln University, NZ), and a PhD on the digestive physiology of kangaroos and goats (UNE, Armidale, NSW), followed by a post-doc back in NZ on the seasonality of gut function and metabolism in red deer (Massey Uni). To get myself out of the lab and animal house, I joined CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology in 1991 to conduct grazing management research in the rangelands of eastern Australia which built on my expertise in kangaroos and goats. By 2000, CSIRO shifted research focus from eastern rangelands to agricultural landscapes dominated by woodlands. This led me to research on the impact of landscape fragmentation on woodland bird assemblages and other taxa. In such highly cleared landscapes restoration is a priority, so I led a number of research projects on the ecosystem services derived from government supported native plantings in southern NSW. This research put me in contact with the NGO, Greening Australia, which I joined in 2007 as Chief Scientist. There my collaborative research projects included effectiveness and cost of revegetation technologies, carbon sequestration measurement and modelling, biofuels from native species, and the benefits of biochar application for improving restoration effectiveness. I joined the Fenner School in 2012 to continue my current research in applied restoration practice and lecture in management of forested landscapes.

Researcher's projects

  • Efficiency of seed use in direct seeding of native species for biodiverse carbon sequestration
  • Exploring relationships between species diversity, plant density and rates of carbon sequestration in south west WA
  • Research needed to underpin the development of biodiverse carbon forestry

Available student projects

Available Student projects

Potential projects (some with funding) with leading conservation and restoration organisations, particularly Greening Australia, include:

  • The effectiveness of riparian restoration projects i (includes building on existing monitoring data)
  • Techniques to improve seed use efficiency in native plantings directly sown on-farm
  • Processes effecting the size and diversity of the soil seed bank in environmental plantings
  • The effects of Acacia browse on intestinal parasite burdens in sheep
  • Novel methods to quantify rates of carbon biosequestration in diverse environmental plantings
  • Environmental impact of feral horses

Past student projects

  • Abundance and decline of isolated trees in the agricultural landscape of central west New South Wales
  • An assessment of the focal species approach for conserving birds in variegated landscapes in south eastern Australia
  • Impact of fragmentation and landscape matrix conditions on woodland  bird in south eastern Australia
  • Effects of soil disturbance from roadworks on roadside shrubs in a fragmented agricultural landscape


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Updated:  20 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers