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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.

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.



TERN-ANU Landscape Data Visualiser

December 2018

Discover, map and analyse the variety of landscape and ecosystem data provided by TERN and ANU’s Centre for Water and Landscape Dynamics, including satellite observations, national-scale predictions, airborne measurements, and sensor network and survey data. Read on for easy online access to over 50 datasets and useful visualisations.




Dust storm forecasting

December 2018

TERN data are being used to develop new tools to model and predict the occurrence of dust storms so that we can manage associated risks better in future. Explore the data and predictive tools that will let us know if we're in for a long, dusty summer…






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