550 ecosystem surveillance plots and counting

2017 sees TERN reach a milestone of 582 ecosystem surveillance plots sampled across our rangelands and tall forest ecosystems.

Data on vegetation diversity and structure, landscape description and detailed soil descriptions, collected according to TERN’s established methods, from over 500 plots are now openly accessible via the TERN Data Discovery Portal, TERN’s Australian Ecological Knowledge and Observation System (ÆKOS), and Soils to Satellites.

These data, collected by TERN’s AusPlots facility are relevant, useful and well-described and represent an invaluable resource for ecosystem science in Australia.  The data are helping scientists and land managers nationwide to better monitor, understand and manage our landscapes.

Western Australia most sampled state

Ecosystem-monitoring plots Australia-wide have been sampled by TERN AusPlots with Western Australia the most sampled state.  Data has been   collected across all Australian rangelands jurisdictions (SA, NT, WA, NSW, Qld, Vic) and from the tall eucalypt forests of northern and southern Queensland, Tasmania, and southwest Western Australia.

If you put all 582 AusPlots next to each other they would be about four times the size of Monaco and, according to suburban Adelaide land prices, worth around $2.4 billion

Research and management utilise data

All of TERN’s outputs are made freely accessible for use by the ecosystem research and management community, and our plot data is no exception. These openly available plot data are helping our research and management community study, understand and manage Australia’s ecosystems like never before.

In just a few recent examples, TERN’s plot-based surveillance monitoring data are being used to:

  • validate the satellite data that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization are relying on to complete the Oceania component of their Global Forest Survey;
  • improve bushfire behaviour models and help better manage future fire crises in Tasmania and in other forest environments around Australia; and
  • identify biodiversity hotspots, their climate change sensitivity, and ultimately inform priorities and strategies for conservation management.

In addition to plot data TERN AusPlots delivers a wide range of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ infrastructure that is valuable for researchers and land managers. This infrastructure includes field samples, accepted methodologies, training opportunities, and field survey apps. All AusPlots outputs are freely available to anyone who would like to use them.

  • For more information on TERN’s plot based ecosystem surveillance monitoring network visit the TERN AusPlots website or contact Ben Sparrow

Published in TERN newsletter March 2017

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