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Top forestry expert named as UC's 2019 emerging career researcher

04 December 2019

Associate Professor Justin Morgenroth, from the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry, has won the 2019 UC Early and Emerging Career Researcher Award.

Associate Professor Justin Morgenroth, from the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry, has won the 2019 University of Canterbury (UC) Early and Emerging Career Researcher Award and $10,000. The award recognises outstanding contributions to research made by a UC academic in the first decade of their career.

‘Forest’ and ‘city’ are two words that haven’t always gone together but Associate Professor Morgenroth has long been fascinated by urban forestry. Both within New Zealand and beyond, he has a growing reputation as a researcher in this urban forestry as well as for his work in forest measurement and monitoring using remote sensing.

In New Zealand, his work in urban forestry has produced tangible, practical results. Following the Christchurch earthquakes, he tracked tree loss in the city using remote sensing to produce a city-wide tree cover map to help inform the city’s Urban Forest Strategy. His PhD research led to tree-friendly pavers being used in Auckland’s CBD.

Associate Professor Morgenroth runs a thriving research group of UC postgraduate students, primarily focusing on using remote sensing approaches for forest measurement and monitoring. His substantial external research funding supports research in matching various species of eucalyptus to dryland environments in New Zealand.

“I’m honoured to have received this UC award,” says Associate Professor Morgenroth. “It acknowledges not only my own work but also the excellent work of my postgraduate students and all the administrative, technical and collegial support I receive from the School of Forestry. Awards like this are a celebration of my research group’s achievements, more than they are of mine. I’m delighted that the University of Canterbury is supportive of our work.”

In his congratulations to the forestry expert, UC Deputy Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Tuarua Professor Ian Wright says that Associate Professor Morgenroth’s nomination stood out among a line-up of strong nominees.

“Justin is well on the way to establishing himself as a premier scholar in his field of research,” Professor Wright says.

To date, Associate Professor Morgenroth has authored 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, working with researchers from universities around the world.

Associate Professor Morgenroth is a sought-after presenter, author, editor and board member. As an invited speaker, he represented New Zealand at the inaugural United Nations Asia-Pacific Urban Forestry Conference and was a signatory to the Zuhai Declaration.

In 2016 Associate Professor Morgenroth was awarded the Early Career Scientist Award by the International Society of Arboriculture; only the second scientist outside the United States to be so honoured. For the past three years, he has also chaired the Science and Research Committee of the International Society of Arboriculture.

He will be formally presented with the 2019 UC Early and Emerging Career Researcher Award in early 2020.

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