With the halfway point of TERN’s current NCRIS grant upon us and consultations for the 2021 Australian National Research Infrastructure Roadmap fast approaching, we take the opportunity to capture some of the thoughts of two key TERN Advisory Board members on the future direction of Australia’s terrestrial ecosystem observatory.
Congratulations to Professor Hugh Possingham on his appointment as Queensland’s Chief Scientist and to ICOS, the Integrated Carbon Observation System in Europe, on their 2020 science conference. Compliments should also go to the more than 30 dedicated TERN people who have just wrapped up a virtual strategic planning day, refreshing the prioritisation of TERN’s core data packages and signature products.
TERN received some welcome news earlier this month with the announcement by The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Education, of $1.7 million to TERN to replace ecosystem monitoring equipment damaged by the recent bushfires and to look at making our sites more resilient in the face of extreme events such as bushfires.
Earlier this month, the TERN Advisory Board met and discussed the outcomes of June’s independent audit of TERN’s governance model—part of a periodic evaluation of TERN’s present and future needs. The Advisory Board compared several business structures, including the current ‘Lead Agent’ model in which the University of Queensland is signatory to the funding agreement with the federal government.
This year, we have a unique opportunity to take advantage of a large, widespread, unintended ecosystem experiment in which human patterns have changed for several months. COVID-19 restrictions may have temporarily stopped TERN’s fieldwork, but fortunately, we’ve had our automated sensors still hard at work during the pandemic lockdown and hope to examine any changes in trends compared to other years.
Investments will create jobs, improve the discoverability, usability and management of ecosystem data, and allow for upgrades to TERN’s critical land ecosystem monitoring equipment—essential for monitoring environmental changes, including responses to extreme events.
Welcome to our May e-newsletter, which arrives as COVID-19 internal Australian travel restrictions start to ease and the prospect of visiting at least our near-home TERN sites is beckoning. We are keen to see how TERN’s sites and instruments are faring, particularly those affected by bushfires, drought and/or floods earlier this year.
An update on the latest consultation activities and strategic direction of the National Environmental Prediction System (NEPS) Scoping Study.