People using TERN: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

Winter 2016

TERN’s national monitoring infrastructure, data and expertise is being utilised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as part of their Global Forest Survey, which is helping improve greenhouse gas emissions inventories.


Satellite eye on Australia’s vegetation

Autumn 2016

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. These products result from a combination of national and international collaborations, drawing field and satellite data from across TERN’s network, to deliver more accurate and finer resolution information on the state of Australia’s information, as a game-changing platform that can assist research, management, policy, restoration and sustainable use of Australian ecosystems.



Ecosystem scientists have always been interested in understanding the carbon cycle – how and why carbon moves through the landscape, its sources and sinks. This includes carbon dioxide exchanges between the atmosphere and vegetation, soil, and aquatic systems, as well as uptake and loss of carbon through vegetation growth and loss. Recently there has been increasing general interest in how human activities may be affecting Australia’s natural carbon cycles.

TERN’s nationally networked infrastructure, multidisciplinary capabilities and end-user-focused products are delivering better ways of measuring and estimating Australia’s current and future environmental carbon stocks and flows. This helps increase certainty for our partners and stakeholders working to understand and manage carbon-related issues in state and federal government agencies, industry, NGOs and the ecosystem science community.

On this page you will find regularly updated links describing TERN’s multidisciplinary, networked approach to reducing uncertainty about Australia’s environmental carbon stocks and flows.

Tim Lubcke climbs the OzFlux tower located at Calperum in South Australia. Each tower provides continuous, long-term, micrometeorological measurements including carbon flux.


More carbon news:

  • The impacts of fuel reduction burns on soil greenhouse gas exchange. Researchers using TERN infrastructure have, for the first time, found that repeated fuel reduction burns in temperate forests have little long-term impact on soil greenhouse gas exchange. The new findings fill an important information gap and provide new science to the ongoing debate surrounding prescribed burning targets in Australia.

  • Ecologically appropriate and economically viable: how long-term research is transforming fire management in the Top End. The collaborative work of scientists, park rangers, and Aboriginal custodians is leading to more environmentally sustainable fire management in the Northern Territory and helping us understand the benefits of savanna burning carbon emission abatement projects.

  • Funding boost for TERN supported biomass and carbon measurement project. International funding has just been secured for the creation of a new international network that will utilize infrastructure, collaborations and expertise developed through TERN’s AusCover Facility, to measure and monitor change to terrestrial biomass and carbon in our environment.

  • NASA partners with TERN to map global carbon. An exciting new data sharing partnership between NASA and TERN will help deliver precise information on the water and carbon exchanges everywhere on Earth’s surface, vital for climatic forecasting.

  • Come and meet TERN’s newest piece of research infrastructure – the DWEL ‘echidna’ terrestrial laser scanner - and learn how it’s already starting to measure the health of our forests as never before

  • It was standing room only at TERN's Carbon briefing session 'Increasing certainty for management' held in Canberra on 31 July. Follow the link to access the speaker's presentations.

  • TERN's July 2012 eNewsletter showcased some of the ways in which TERN infrastructure is helping improve our understanding of environmental carbon stocks and flows in Australia. Our national, multidisciplinary and networked approach to this important and topical subject is already starting to deliver benefits for the Australian ecosystem science community. Read more here.

  • TERN's OzFlux, AusCover, e-MAST, ASN and ACEAS facilities are working together, and with CSIRO and other partners, to improve our understanding of continental-scale carbon and water cycles. Read more here.

  • How will our native eucalypt forests, and the ecosystems they support, respond to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? The largest field experiment of its kind in the southern hemisphere is about to get under way at the EucFACE Supersite near Sydney.

  • Interested in using remotely sensed data to get a handle on the stocks of carbon in vegetation biomass? AusCover researcher Dr Peter Scarth has been working with national and international colleagues, including the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, to come up with a method with applications at home and abroad.

  • It sounds like good news for sustainability and conservation, but do reduced emissions and increased carbon storage necessarily mean a win for biodiversity? TERN’s ACEAS facility recently convened a workshop of eminent Australian ecosystem scientists to consider this question. You can read all about it here.

  • Work underway at the Litchfield Supersite, part of TERN's Australian Supersite Network, will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the relationship between fire and the movement and storage of carbon. Read more here.

  • TERN researchers are giving attention to carbon cycles in our rivers, estuaries and coasts, and how these are affected by human activities. Click here to learn more.

  • The very detailed information needed to understand carbon dynamics in ecosystems can only be obtained by repeatedly measuring established plots over long periods – and this is part of the work that TERN's Long-Term Ecological Research Network is doing, drawing on data that has been collected in some cases for almost 30 years. It is also establishing world-class standards for data collection from a network of plots in different landscapes.

  • The team at TERN's Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia is combining historical data, and cutting-edge data and analysis to come up with an accurate and detailed picture of soil carbon that is more a spatial information system than the traditional idea of a map. Read more here.

  • The deluge of Australian ecosystem data starting to pour from multiple TERN facilities, as well as many other sources, is enabling the team at TERN’s Ecosystem Modelling and Scaling Infrastructure (e-MAST) facility to get to work improving our capacity to model big integrative questions. For example, how much carbon can be stored in Australia’s natural landscapes? Click here to learn more.

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