Satellite eye on Australia’s vegetation
The impact of TERN’s collaborative, multi-scale, and national approach to ecosystem science is once more on show this month, with the release of a new National Biomass Library, National Biomass Map, and landmark high-resolution map products of woody vegetation height and cover, via TERN AusCover.
Catchment to coast via the city: TERN expands ecosystem monitoring infrastructure in NSW
New TERN monitoring sites along the Biodiversity and Adaptation Transect Sydney are set to deliver more cohesive ecosystem information at multiple scales and lead to improved understanding of spatial and temporal environmental changes.
It’s no secret that Australia is in the grip of a biodiversity crisis. What is less well understood are the consequences of cumulative species extinctions for ecosystem function, and how this might affect the ability of these ecosystems to continue to deliver the goods and services – such as clean air and clean water – that we tend to take for granted.
The national scope of TERN’s activities, our networks of scientists and managers, and our focus on sharing and synthesising data means that we are now in a position to enable the development of a continental-scale understanding of what is happening to Australia’s biodiversity. Incorporation of data and knowledge from existing long-term monitoring sites, plots and transects into the network, and establishment of new ones where needed, means that ecosystem scientists and managers can describe changes in both biodiversity and ecosystem function over time, in response to drivers such as fire or climate variability. Corresponding field experiments testing how further changes (such as species loss or invasion, increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations or alterations in fire frequency) might affect Australian ecosystem function in future are already underway.
On this page you will find regularly updated links describing the efforts of TERN and our many partners to increase and share our understanding of the connections between biodiversity and ecosystem function in Australia.
- New nation-wide environmental condition monitoring protocols put to the test. Field trials to test the robustness of new ecosystem condition monitoring protocols being developed under TERN’s 'Enhancing long-term surveillance monitoring across Australia project’ have just been completed. Results are helping create protocols to better define condition, and monitor and understand changes to the environment.
- New ecosystem monitoring plots established to address biodiversity threats in WA’s Pilbara. Working in collaboration with the people of the Fortescue River catchment in WA’s Pilbara region—pastoral and mining land managers and the indigenous community—the Pilbara Corridors project has established the first of its AusPlots ecosystem monitoring sites to help identify spatial and temporal changes in biodiversity.
- Long-term research infrastructure facilitates groundbreaking rainforest study. Researchers using TERN's national long-term research infrastructure have, for the first time, demonstrated scientists' long-held suspicions that tropical forest diversity is driven by early life-cycle plant development.
- New research predicts collapse of mountain ash ecosystem. A recent study by researchers utilising decades of scientific monitoring from TERN’s Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTERN) has discovered that the mountain ash forests of Victoria’s highlands are at very high risk of collapse within half a century, driven by the effects of clearfell logging and bushfires.
- An armchair tour of Australia’s ecoregions. Take a tour of some of Australia’s unique ecosystems via these amazing 360-degree photospheres captured at TERN’s national monitoring observatories
- A gourmet guide for koalas. A collaborative team is using airborne technology to map koala habitats like never before. Not only is the work improving our understanding of the habitat requirements of koalas, it is also providing important information about ecosystem processes and functioning.
- Bogong data gives context for a warming tundra. TERN plots used in the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) to investigate how global warming is affecting tundra plants and animals.
- Data, expertise, and synthesis opportunities enabled by TERN have all played a role in the development of a new scientifically-robust risk assessment framework to support the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems.
- In celebration of Australian biodiversity month, the September 2012 edition of the TERN newsletter discusses how our work is helping to improve understanding of Australian biodiversity.
- It sounds like good news for sustainability and conservation, but do reduced emissions and increased carbon storage necessarily mean a win for biodiversity?
- Thanks to a recent ACEAS workshop, the Australian Natural Heritage Assessment tool may soon be able to integrate and evaluate phylogenetic and taxonomic diversity. Follow the link to find out more.
- The Australian Supersite Network aims to improve our understanding of ecosystem response to environmental change. TERN newsletter stories provide more information on work underway at the Victorian Dry Eucalypt Forests Supersite and the Great Western Woodland Supersite.
- The AusPlots Rangelands team have developed a consistent method for the survey of Rangeland biodiversity. The NSW Department of Primary Industry has already trialled the method, and a number of other groups have received training to use the method.
- Congratulations to Prof David Lindenmayer, Director of TERN's Long-Term Ecological Plot Network, who was a finalist in the 2011 Eureka Awards presented by the Australian Museum. Click here to read more.
Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy(NCRIS).