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What is TERN?

The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) is the national observatory for Australian ecosystems, delivering data streams that enable environmental research and management:


TERN's infrastructure is designed to examine Australian ecosystems and ecosystem processes at different scales from targeted monitoring at the local level, through to surveillance monitoring at regional scales, through to continental scale observation and modelling.


TERN delivers:

  • Ecosystem data and the programs to collect it including plot data from surveillance and targeted monitoring programs; gas, energy, and nutrient exchanges; remote sensing data; modelled data products about soil, climate, and landscape attributes; and vegetation and soil samples for physical analysis;
  • Tools for the research community including national consistent field methods, data collection apps, and data publishing tools; and
  • Data infrastructure that supports discovery, access, and re-use of ecosystem data collected by TERN and others.

Our four key capability areas are climate, land, biodiversity, and data.


Click here for more information on how TERN works.


The following presentation, by former TERN Director Stuart Phinn, also provides further information on TERN's role in enabling: improved use and re-use of data, improved collaboration to address key questions, and greater collective influence on ecosystem science and management in Australia (approximately 40 minutes long). You can access the powerpoint slides from this presentation here.

Sharing & Sustaining Ecosystem Data - TERN from Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network on Vimeo.


TERN was created in 2009 by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) via a $20m funding program through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and $4.1m from the Queensland State Government.  An additional $25.63m was provided to TERN in 2011 as part of an additional funding allocation from the Australian Government under the Education Investment Fund (EIF) Super Science Initiative. Further funding and in-kind contributions have been received from numerous other partners.

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