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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.

A universal model for predicting plant CO2 uptake

September 2017

New research using TERN delivered data is set to change the way we predict photosynthesis in plants. Just published in Nature Plants, the research proposes a unified model of CO2 uptake by species and ecosystems that can be used to predict future global terrestrial sinks for anthropogenic CO2.


Measuring our breathing planet

July 2017

Every hour, every day, over all seasons and across the changing years an international network of automated environmental observation towers watches the planet breathe in and out and measures its exchanges of gas and water. The pivotal role TERN plays in this global flux-measuring network was on display at the recent FluxNet Conference, which reported that the network’s Australasian component and the data and science it facilitates continue to punch well above their weight.


Finding the lost forests of the drylands

May 2017

TERN’s infrastructure and expertise have proven vital to a new global analysis of the distribution of forests and woodlands across dryland ecosystems. The work, a direct result of our ongoing collaboration with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, has increased current estimates of global forest cover by nearly 10%. Just published in Science, these results will improve global carbon models and inventories.


Sweet as Raspberry Pi: TERN’s new sensor technology for easier and cheaper ecosystem surveillance

March 2017

Perched 30m above the rainforest, Australia’s latest piece of high-tech environmental surveillance kit keeps watch. This new, TERN-developed vegetation-monitoring camera is tipped to revolutionise Australian ecosystem science, making the measurement of change and carbon in our environment easier and cheaper than ever before.


People using TERN: Andrew Edwards

February 2017

A research fellow from the Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research is using TERN delivered data to map fire severity across the Top End for more informed regional fire management and more accurate national carbon accounting.


Angry summers and ecosystem health

January 2017

As Australia swelters through another hot summer, a team of researchers is using TERN data to assess how heat waves affect the energy balance, carbon uptake, water use, and overall health of Australia’s ecosystems.


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