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An international team of scientists hoping to uncover global patterns in the relationship between a plant’s form and the environment and climate in which it lives, were only able to explain <10% of the variation found in key functional patterns of leaves, the primary organ for light and carbon capture. In this, the first of several popular science articles from TERN, Prof. Andy Lowe explores alternative ways of solving this global scientific dilemma.
From better weather forecasting and carbon budgeting to improved agricultural productivity forecasts, the on-ground data and research infrastructure TERN provides to space agencies, including NASA, are ensuring the accuracy of some of the planet’s most important ecosystem monitoring and prediction tools.
This month we’re travelling to the wheatbelt region of Western Australia to visit TERN’s Boyagin Wandoo Woodland site and its paired Ridgefield Farm OzFlux site. Together, the sites’ automated monitoring infrastructure provide essential long-term continuous data to understand landscape dynamics in this biodiverse swath of Australia valued at almost AU$3 billion.
The CO₂, water and energy data provided by TERN flux instruments provide a cost-effective alternative to expensive soil sampling for quantifying soil organic carbon sequestration at large spatial scales and ensuring delivery of carbon offsets.
TERN’s national research infrastructure (NRI) is being used by scientists from all around the world, including by a scientist from Estonia whose research will help new NASA technology be better utilised to monitor and measure environmental change. Meet the researcher, learn about an innovative method to assess vegetation clumping, and read his independent assessment of the importance of TERN for global satellite product validation.
Increases in the frequency and intensity of droughts and fires are predicted, and Australia needs to adapt. However, new research using TERN data suggests that some Australian forests are more vulnerable than others and change in water availability might put our rainforests at risk.
New research using TERN has found that the physical and chemical properties of soil control carbon and nitrogen stocks more than any other factor, including soil biodiversity. The results have major implications for the way carbon and nutrients are modelled and forecast in both natural and agricultural environments.
This month our site feature takes us to Australia’s most southerly flux monitoring site, located in one of the world’s tallest and most productive forests. For almost a decade, equipment at the Warra site has been measuring the exchange of carbon, water and energy between the atmosphere and the tall eucalypt forests that dominate this biodiverse and immensely valuable wilderness region.
Improved rainfall conditions have pulled our environment out of its worst state on record, but recovery is slow, partial and precarious. That’s the main conclusion from Australia’s Environment, the latest in an annual series of environmental condition reports, released on Tuesday 30 March 2021. The report, and its website, provide a summary of key environmental indicators and how they changed in 2020.
The TERN-Queensland Government project to introduce continuous environmental monitoring sensors into the Burdekin region is progressing well.
The new monitoring equipment will allow TERN to deliver essential measures on the ecosystem functioning of grazing landscapes and enable improved pasture modelling for Queensland and beyond. Join us as we check in on the site’s progress.