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Land and Terrain

Tracking key processes such as fire, clearing, land use, & climate change. Monitoring soils & vegetaton to build a beter natonal picture of our major ecosystems.

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 to build a better national picture of our major ecosystems;
  • adaptive management processes that can evaluate and respond to changes reported by the monitoring programs; and
  • 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.

Finding the true holy grail of biological barometers

June 2019

New science conducted at 27 research sites around the world, including one of TERN’s, has challenged the long-held belief that leaf traits are the best way to predict how plants respond to environmental change. Join the researchers in their quest for the true holy grail of environmental predictors.




Australia’s Environment in 2018

May 2019

Researchers have taken advantage of TERN’s trusted national and long-term data to develop the latest in an annual series of environmental condition reports. The report, and its accompanying interactive website, provide an annual summary of 15 key environmental indicators and how they have changed over time.




Building Australia’s most advanced environmental decision-support system

May 2019

As it approaches its half-year milestone, the National Environmental Prediction System (NEPS) Scoping Study is set to embark on a broad consultation process that will help shape a support system for Australia’s research and decision-making communities.




Do trees sweat to beat the heat?

April 2019

As temperature records continued to tumble last summer, a timely experiment using TERN data has added to our understanding about how Australian woodlands cope with extreme heat.





Mitchell Grasslands ecosystem observatory takes grassroots sky-high

April 2019

From on-ground monitoring plots, to high-tech sensor-laden towers and satellite measurements, all scales of TERN’s ecosystem observatory are combining at our newest site in Queensland to deliver critical data for research, policy, management and industry-led extension.

R package for Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia

March 2019

Quickly and easily download geographic subsets of nationally-consistent and comprehensive soil and landscape data for your area of interest.





Learning from change

March 2019

The full extent of devastation following the recent bushfires in Tasmania is becoming clear. This is what our worried researchers found when it was finally safe enough to visit TERN’s highly instrumented, long-term ecological research site in the Huon Valley.

Leaf waxes paint picture of past to inform future

February 2019

The plant waxes contained in thousands of soil samples collected by TERN are enabling scientists to reconstruct past plant records that hold clues to predicting future environmental change.





People using TERN: Keren Raiter

February 2019

Sly foxes and copycats. It seems that Australia’s predators are living up to their reputations by capitalising on human-made roads for hunting. Meet the scientist who’s mapping Australia’s predator highways to inform road planning and achieve better conservation outcomes.

Monitoring protocol for mine rehabilitation assessments

January 2019

The Australian Government has adopted TERN’s standard protocol for field-based environmental monitoring to assess the rehabilitation of the Northern Territory’s Ranger Uranium Mine following its closure in 2021. Find out how the eight new monitoring plots integrate with TERN’s research infrastructure in Kakadu National Park to help ensure that the best possible environmental outcomes are achieved.


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