A consortium of Australian universities has secured $1.2M of Australian Government funding to help create a network of Critical Zone Observatories (CZO) across Australia. The funding will enable research into Australia’s outer skin—from treetop to bedrock, where water, atmosphere, ecosystems, soil and rock interact—to better understand and manage the availability of its life-sustaining resources.
This edition we’re at the Global Ecology Laboratory learning about their ecological research, that has a particular focus on palaeo-ecological systems and forecasting future ecosystems.
This month’s site feature has us travelling into red dirt country again – to TERN’s Calperum Mallee SuperSite in the Riverland of South Australia. Over its 10-year lifetime, the site’s infrastructure has monitored ecosystem processes that shed light on how Australia’s widespread vegetation called Mallee is able to survive in such hot, dry, fire-prone conditions.
In early October, a team of TERN ecologists will return to Kangaroo Island to re-survey 12 permanent environmental monitoring plots established by TERN in 2018, half of which were burnt in the 2019/2020 bushfires. The new data collected by the TERN Field Team will add to key baseline information collected pre-fire and enable the tracking of post-fire recovery rates and ecosystem resilience.
National scale soils information is critical for informing decisions across domains in environment, agriculture, engineering, and climate response, and enables researchers to measure changes in Australia’s ecosystems over time from local to continental scales. We talk to outgoing TERN platform co-lead, Mike Grundy, about the immense value digital soil mapping and assessment adds to a national ecosystem observatory.
Increasing temperatures and drought frequency may diminish the benefits of fertilisation in managed grasslands
A recently completed study conducted at 21 research sites around the world, including four of TERN’s, has analysed how nutrient addition affects the ability of soil organisms to process organic matter and how climate modulates this response. The results have significant implications for global land management and carbon budgeting.
The drought has loosened its grip across much of Australia, while millions of hectares burnt last summer have started recovering thanks to good autumn rain. These are the main conclusions from a mid-year update on the condition of Australia’s environment.
In August we showcase the University of Tasmania’s Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Forest Value and its work in capacity building for the forest industries and wood products through training and applied research.
This month, we’re in the Wombat State Forest located near Daylesford in Central Victoria, showcasing a decade of research infrastructure-enabled science on forest carbon cycles, soil, vegetation growth dynamics, and their responses to drought and other disturbances.
West Australian researchers and industry partners taste sweet success as a new model predicts good marri honey harvest years with 90% accuracy. Read about the approach and the opportunities it presents to other regions, species, and in the assessment of ecosystem services.