Agri-Environmental Informatics: The Contribution of Statistical Science and Statisticians
Bronwyn D. Harch
Sustainable Agriculture Flagship, CSIRO, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Agri-Environmental Informatics research is focused on a fresh look at agricultural productivity and agricultural futures. Research investment in Agri-Environmental Informatics is to ensure innovations in “smarter information use” contributes to reducing the carbon footprint of Australia's land use, whilst also achieving the productivity gains needed for prosperous agricultural and forest industries and global food security.

Why is this important? Agri-Environmental Informatics is a critical underpinning set of information and methodologies for Australia's future management of carbon, agri-ecosystem health, agricultural productivity and the nation's wellbeing and prosperity. Government and industry are seeking more knowledge, reliable data and expertise to help them understand the competing and conflicting pressures on our agri-ecosystem balance. This research focus will provide the underpinning information systems to aid evidence based decision making. Investment is aimed at ensuring Australia maintains a leadership role in the contribution of agri-environmental systems, analytical methodologies and spatially enabled sensing technologies that will facilitate globally consistent information assets, which are also locally relevant to Australian agriculture.

This paper will outline the contribution statistical science can make to this emerging research area and importantly the role of the statistician as an integrator in multidisciplinary research teams.

Keywords: Biometrics; Environmental statistics; Agriculture; Greenhouse gas emissions

Biography: Dr Harch has 15 years experience with CSIRO's division of Mathematics, Informatics & Statistics (CMIS) in the areas of Agri-and Environmental Informatics and is currently the Deputy Director of CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship where her research direction efforts are focused on Agri-Environmental Informatics. Her research focus has been on the statistical design of landscape scale sampling protocols & monitoring programs, as well as the statistical modelling of complex landscape systems. She has led a number of major statistical projects within large multidisciplinary landscape-based studies. She recently won both the Qld Women in Technology ICT Outstanding Achievement Award and ICT Professional Awards (2010) and in 2008 received the Abdel El-Shaarawi Young Environmetrician Award from The International Environmetrics Society (TIES). For Dr Harch - “informatics” is the science of turning data into insight & action.