TERN is Australia’s land ecosystem observatory.
We observe, record and measure critical terrestrial ecosystem parameters and conditions for Australia over time from continental scale to field sites at hundreds of representative locations. This information is standardised, integrated and transformed into model-ready data, enabling researchers to discern and interpret changes in land ecosystems.
Understanding ecosystem change, the rate of change, and underlying causes is essential for effectively protecting and managing Australia’s environment and the many services it provides.
TERN was established in late 2009 as Australia’s first Commonwealth Government NCRIS grant-funded research infrastructure to deliver a national terrestrial ecosystem observatory providing standardised and integrated measures of changes in Australia’s land-based ecosystem biodiversity.
The goal of TERN is to provide open access for researchers to Australia’s land-based ecosystem monitoring infrastructure, data and research tools and thus contribute to a broader understanding and long-term sustainable management of Australia’s ecosystems.
To achieve its goal, TERN uses consistent and standard ecosystem measures over time to observe and measure ecosystem change across the continent. Our three key themes of measurement are Biodiversity, Carbon & Water, and Land & Terrain.
From the beginning, the TERN ecosystem field observatory was structured around three key scales of observation:
TERN’s Data and Modelling services manage datasets derived from its terrestrial ecosystem field observatory. Within its data services capability, TERN data infrastructure also enables the Australian community of ecosystem researchers to collect, contribute, store and share data.
TERN’s project management team ensures the observatory and data components of its national infrastructure are fully integrated. Integration of the observatory’s components delivers an exponentially more powerful set of information.