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. 

Living labs on Top End grazing land

TERN is providing infrastructure needed to support science and environmental management in northern Australia’s tropical savanna grazing lands. We take a look at one project that’s using ants to assess the health of our savannas.


Sustainable land use

Truly sustainable management and use of Australia’s unique ecosystems requires:

  • a comprehensive understanding of ecosystem composition and function, and how these are changing over time (eg in response to altered fire regimes, climate variability, species extinctions or invasions)
  • appropriately resourced long-term monitoring programs that report on meaningful indicators at relevant temporal and spatial scales
  • adaptive management processes that can evaluate and respond to changes reported by the monitoring programs
  • world leading predictive modelling capability that can integrate data from a range of disciplines and scales to evaluate management options and their impacts

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.

TERN's infrastructure extends across a range of land uses in Australia, including former agricultural land like that incorporated into the Samford Supersite, part of the Australian Supersite Network.
















More news:

  • An app to map cyanobacteria crusts for soil management. A new collaborative project between Loughborough University in the UK and TERN’s AusPlots facility is leveraging on the technology delivered by AusPlots’ AuScribe Field Data App to develop a new app that can be used to cheaply and easily quantify cyanobacterial crust cover—vital for landscape stabilisation and carbon and nitrogen fixation.
  • National Soil and Landscape Grid launched! Comprehensive nation-wide information about important soil and landscape attributes is now available via TERN’s Soil and Landscape Grid launched in Melbourne today. The Grid has huge potential to inform planning and decision-making across Australia's production landscape
  • TERN research improves forestry policy and practice. Research at long-established TERN monitoring sites in production forests sheds new light on interactions between logging practices, carbon stocks and biodiversity protection and leads to improvements in forestry practices.
  • Early and accurate predictions of grape yields. Two exciting new TERN projects show signs of bearing fruit for the Australian viticulture industry by assisting with yield and quality prediction.
  • Aerial imagery used in down-to-earth farming decisions. TERN is at the forefront of efforts to improve the usefulness and availability of remotely-sensed data so that they can be used to help farmers make decisions about fertilising or harvesting crops, moving livestock, and other typical economic and land-management decisions. 
  • Of mice and dogs. A new study suggests that there is a cheaper and easier way for landowners to manage introduced foxes and cats and control their costly impacts on rangeland grazing operations.
  • New website: Indigenous Biocultural Knowledge. TERN’s ACEAS facility has produced a website to show the wealth of projects, research and management plans about Indigenous Biocultural Knowledge.  It will enable the community, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, to better appreciate the spatial and temporal information from indigenous knowledge that can be utilised for decision-making and research.
  • The newest addition to the Australian Transect Network, work at SWATT is generating new knowledge to inform decisions on how to manage the area for economic and environmental sustainability.
  • Soils to Satellites is now live! TERN’s Eco-informatics facility gives people a way to explore and visualise relationships between types of ecosystem data that weren’t possible until now. 
  • Thanks to a collaboration between the Australian Coastal Ecosystems Facility and coastal monitoring enterprise CoastalCOMS, researchers and others can access shoreline video data and metadata through the Coastal Research Portal. Making this data accessible puts a new tool in the hands of coastal managers to help them understand coastal dynamics.
  • TERN's August 2012 eNewsletter explored some of the ways in which TERN’s nationally networked infrastructure and capabilities are already contributing to increasingly sustainable land use and land management in Australia.
  • The AusPlots-Rangelands team will soon release their methodology for Rangelands survey. In the meantime, you can read about it here. The AusPlots method has already been tried in NSW by the Department of Primary Industries. Agriculture Today and the Narromine News have both reported on this story.
  • The AusPlots field training at Calperum in Feb 2012 will help to ensure effective implementation of the AusPlots Rangelands methodology by a wide range of groups
  • 'Ecosystem services and livelihood opportunities' is a project co-funded by ACEAS/TERN to explore development challenges and opportunities faced by indigenous communities. As part of the project, a May 2012 workshop drew together indigenous peoples from the rim of the Arafura sea to develop options for making livelihoods from their traditional lands. Read more here.
  • The open day at the Samford Ecological Research Facility in June (part of the Australian Supersite Network) was a great opportunity for locals to learn more about the work underway at the site, and to get a better understanding of how science can inform management. Click here to read more.
  • The 'TRENDSA' app, developed by the Transects for Environmental Monitoring and Decision Making project, allows users to directly contribute information about their local environment that fees into monitoring and management programs. You can read more here, or get the app here.
  • 'Will European land use devastate Australia’s unique biodiversity?' was the theme of the ACEAS Great Debate that preceded the 2012 TERN Annual Symposium. A summary is available here.
  • Read the feature article on the Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia, in the November 2011 issue of the TERN e-Newsletter
  • The Australian Supersite Network has welcomed the addition of a supersite located in the Great Western Woodland. Extending across the woodlands and into the adjacent wheat belt, research at this site will address nationally significant land manage issues relevant to agriculture, mining, pastoralism and biodiversity. You can read more in the TERN November 2011 newsletter, or from CSIRO.

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