NSW Government co-invests in NCRIS to track ecosystem change

State government funding has been secured for the creation of a new collaborative research group that will utilise the NCRIS funded infrastructure, collaborations and expertise developed through TERN to document the state of NSW’s ecosystems.

Led by University of Sydney’s Dr Brad Evans, the group will draw together world-leading researchers and universities and will use the additional funding to monitor, collate data and report on ecosystem change in NSW. The collaborative project aims to contribute to state environmental reporting by producing a ‘state of the ecosystems’ report for NSW.

The NSW Office of Science & Research (OSR)—through the NSW Research Attraction and Acceleration Program (RAAP)—has committed $300,000 to undertake the work.  The grant is part of NSW Government’s co-investment in NCRIS projects that extends and expands federal government investment to support the state’s research and development sector and help answer state specific science and management questions.

Seven connected capabilities spanning the ecosystem science spectrum will work together with state government agencies, helping everyone to pull in the same direction to deliver an unprecedented account of NSW’s ecosystems.

Research group leader


Key research

Brad Evans

University of Sydney

Ecosystem modelling and scaling using remote sensing and climate data

Glenda Wardle

University of Sydney

Monitoring ecosystem response to environmental change

Tom Bishop

University of Sydney

Space-time modelling of soil and water

David Keith

University of NSW

Restoration of threatened woodland ecosystems

Matthias Boer

Western Sydney University

Monitoring canopy health in eucalypt woodland

Derek Eamus

University of Technology Sydney

Monitoring of groundwater resources

Alfredo Huete

University of Technology Sydney

Remote sensing of ecosystem function

Brad says the new research network will deliver significant outcomes that wouldn’t be possible without TERN’s expertise and infrastructure. “Our group is heavily reliant on TERN infrastructure and its collaborative networks.”

“Our new capabilities have all benefited from TERN in one way or another, whether via its openly accessible research infrastructure or via its collaborative activities and events,” says Brad.  “Without TERN, such a project wouldn’t be possible and we simply wouldn’t be able to help solve such big, complex, connected ecosystem science problems.”

Research group leader Professor Alfredo Huete of the University of Technology Sydney, says that his capability will specifically utilise TERN’s ecosystem monitoring infrastructure and the open data made available via its portals. “This project will merge remote sensing data with high quality ground infrastructure, thus greatly advancing ecosystem assessments,” says Alfredo.

The additional co-investment in NCRIS infrastructure is also expected to help supplement other ecosystem science research infrastructure in NSW.  “The government support will help maintain a soil moisture monitoring network in southern NSW, which is being used as a test case for the development of a state-wide soil moisture observation system,” says University of Sydney Associate Professor Tom Bishop.

University of NSW’s Professor David Keith believes that such co-investment and supplementation of current ecosystem science infrastructure (including, but not limited to TERN’s) is vital in collecting the information required to adequately address NSW’s (and Australia’s) major environmental challenges.

“This initiative will help establish infrastructure that ultimately supports better state of environment reporting in NSW, says David Keith.

The team’s ‘NSW state of the ecosystems’ report is expected to be completed within the next two years and will be available via the TERN website.  

  • To stay up to date with developments on this, and many more ecosystem science projects nation-wide, subscribe to the TERN eNewsletter or follow us on Twitter.
  • For more information on this project please contact Dr Brad Evans.

Published in TERN newsletter September 2016

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