Truly sustainable management and use of Australia’s unique ecosystems requires:
While these goals may have been occasionally achieved in the past at local and regional scales or for particular ecosystem types or landuses, TERN enables Australia to progress towards sustainability on a continental scale. Our nationally networked infrastructure and multidisciplinary approach is already enabling pastoralists, government agencies and the ecosystem science community to work across administrative boundaries and increase understanding, measure and monitor change, and more sustainably manage our ecosystem assets.
On this page you will find regularly updated links describing some of the ways in which TERN and its many partners are working to help improve the sustainability of management and use of Australia’s terrestrial ecosystems.
Europe’s, America’s and India’s space agencies are set to take a giant leap for ecosystem science: monitoring Earth’s most complex processes and measuring and mapping the planet’s forests in high-resolution 3D. TERN is playing a vital role in these missions by providing the on-ground observation infrastructure and data required to calibrate, validate and improve the accuracy of these global bio-geophysical satellite data.
The international Committee on Earth Observation Satellites has added TERN’s Australia-wide network of 12 ecosystem process monitoring SuperSites to their list of top 55 global sites for the calibration and validation of satellite-derived global bio-geophysical data products.
Data on the biodiversity of more than 10 million hectares of land in central Australia are now openly available via TERN. Collected by Indigenous rangers and traditional owners in collaboration with the mining industry, land council and environmental consultancy partners, the dataset is an invaluable resource for the conservation and sustainable use of one of Australia’s most remote and under-surveyed regions.
In a giant leap towards the creation of Australia’s first nationwide mangrove observing system, TERN has provided open access to decades of historical and newly acquired field and Earth observation data. These data alert scientists and managers to environmental change, allow them to understand the causes and impacts of this change to sustainably manage our valuable mangrove ecosystems, and enhance Australia’s contribution to the global Sustainable Development Goals.
TERN has added another 27 permanent plots to its national network of over 600 ecosystem surveillance sites. The new sites in New South Wales and South Australia represent the first nationally-consistent monitoring in an important climatic region and provide vital information to state government and not-for-profit conservation programs.
It’s something that parents all over the world have suspected forever, but now the benefits of playing in the dirt have been backed by science. In fact, new research using TERN data and tools indicates that exposure to the right kind of soil actually benefits human health at the population level and reduces our collective risk of sickness.
Every year our farmers apply many tonnes of expensive fertiliser because Australia’s soils are naturally deficient in phosphorus. To help reduce this reliance on fertiliser, Dr Ashlea Doolette from the University of Adelaide is using TERN to learn from our ‘phosphorus-efficient’ native plants and develop novel approaches that could save our agricultural industries millions of dollars every year.