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Decay resistance of naturally durable eucalyptus timber

School of Forestry

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Dr Clemens Altaner Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Some timbers are remarkably resistant against decay and therefore highly priced. These naturally durable timbers are rare and often sourced unsustainably from tropical forests. However, some eucalypts are producing naturally durable heartwood and can be sustainably plantation grown in temperate climates (for more information visit The natural material ‘timber’ is characterised by high within species variability. To be able to compete with preservative treated wood, consistent decay resistance needs to be assured.
The NZ School of Forestry at the University of Canterbury is offering a 3-year PhD project to investigate natural durability of eucalyptus timber. The research of the project might include:
Applied approaches
• Develop rapid methods to assess natural durability (e.g. by Near InfraRed spectroscopy) – for use in breeding programs as well as for segregation during timber processing
• Gathering data to support inclusion of the species into international standards

Fundamental questions
• Investigate environmental, biological and seasonal effects on timber durability – to inform forest growers on siting
• Identify heartwood extractives contributing to decay resistance

The ideal applicant will have a GPA of 7.0 (A-) or higher, a four-year bachelor degree with first class honours or a Master’s degree in a wood science& technology, microbiology or a related field. Candidates must have a valid driver’s licence and be willing to undertake both field and lab work.
The scholarship is available from 1 April 2020 (start date negotiable). Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
Applications must include:
• A full Curriculum Vitae, INCLUDING your University transcript (i.e. list of grades).
• The names of at least two people who can act as referees.
• A statement of your research interests and when you could begin your PhD research.
• Evidence of English language proficiency. If English is not your first language, international applicants must meet the University’s English language requirements (e.g. IELTS ≥ 6.5; TOEFEL ≥ 90). See for details.

The University of Canterbury is located in Christchurch, a small city in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. The city’s central location in the South Island gives easy access to both coasts as well as the Southern Alps and a range of other unique environments.

Funding Notes

The available scholarship covers full university fees and a stipend of $22,000 p.a. for three years.

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