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This month’s spotlight is aimed at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) Forest Research Institute. This group undertakes work in the broad spectrum of forestry research areas that make direct and meaningful contributions to the sustainability of our wooded landscapes, including important areas of studies such as smallholder and forest conservation-based research, along with work to ensure industries profitable while meeting regulatory requirements and public expectations.
From on-ground monitoring plots, to high-tech sensor-laden towers and satellite measurements, all scales of TERN’s ecosystem observatory are coming together at TERN’s Mitchell Grass Rangeland SuperSite in Queensland to deliver critical data for research, policy, management and industry-led extension.
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.
All-weather, day and night, satellite radar images are now available for TERN sites, Australia and beyond
Australian researchers and industry now have access to more than 1,000 high-resolution satellite-collected radar images covering the Australian continent, with more data added every day.
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.
Hundreds of soil samples collected by TERN across Queensland have been filling knowledge gaps about phosphorus, particularly in remote locations, and allowed production of a more accurate and useful map on phosphorus availability in Queensland soils. The map will assist pastoralists, government and researchers improve the productivity and profitability of the state’s agricultural industries.
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.
To ensure that TERN delivers in-demand data and that our NCRIS grant is spent in the most efficient way possible, we’re consulting with our users to guide our collection of time-series terrestrial and airborne LiDAR data.