Phill provides advice on mine site relinquishment and mine closure, and specialises in the ecological assessments of mine site rehabilitation using the disciplines of restoration ecology and remote sensing.

Particular areas of interest include rehabilitation resilience, fire ecology and the use of UAV technology and remote sensing methods to characterise site stability and vegetation development through time

Phill joined CMLR in 2007 as a field ecologist and GIS specialist and has been chief investigator on a number of research projects in Australia and overseas. He has developed and implemented long-term monitoring programs on mine site rehabilitation at more than ten mines, providing specialist advice on matters such as vegetation and ecosystem development and legislative compliance.

Industry

Phill has engaged widely within the mining industry, with state, territory and federal environmental regulators and NGOs. Phill has played a lead role in projects with industry partners including Wesfarmers Curragh, Centennial Coal, Sibelco Australia, Rio Tinto, Glencore and Peabody Energy and jointly runs environmental monitoring projects with global consultants WSP. Phill's research on fire and rehabilitation has resulted in significant collaborations with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

Collaborations

At the University of Queensland, Phill has worked on collaborative projects across research centres within SMI, and with other faculties within the University including the Remote Sensing Research Centre within the School of Earth and Environment Sciences. His collaborative work with the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining and the Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry has taken him to Mongolia where he led the GIS and remote sensing component of the multidisciplinary Mongolian project studying the effects of open cut coal mining on the livelihoods of traditional herders. 

Key Publications

McKenna, P, Vanessa Glenn, Peter D Erskine, David Doley, and Andrew Sturgess. (2017). Fire Behaviour on Engineered Landforms Stabilised with High Biomass Buffel Grass. Ecological Engineering 101. Elsevier B.V.: 237–246. doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.01.038. 

McKenna, Phill, Erskine, Peter D., Lechner, Alex M. and Phinn, Stuart (2017) Measuring fire severity using UAV imagery in semi-arid central Queensland, Australia. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 38 14: 4244-4264. doi:10.1080/01431161.2017.1317942

Mcintyre, N., Bulovic, N., Cane, I., & McKenna, P. (2016). A multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the impacts of mines on traditional uses of water in Northern Mongolia. Science of the Total Environment, 557558, 404–414. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.092

Audet, P., Gravina, A., Glenn, V., McKenna, P., Vickers, H., Gillespie, M., Mulligan, D., 2013. Structural development of vegetation on rehabilitated North Stradbroke Island: Above/belowground feedback may facilitate alternative ecological outcomes. Ecol. Process. 2, 20. doi:10.1186/2192-1709-2-20

Glenn, V., Doley, D., Corinne, U., Nic, M., McKenna, P., Gillespie, M., Elizabeth, W., 2014. Mined land rehabilitation - is there a gap between regulatory guidence and successful relinquishment? AusIMM Bull. 48–54.

Full list of publications available on espace

Funding

Phill has been successful in contributing to, and leading industry and research grants in excess of 8 million dollars.