Land Observatory

The TERN ecosystem field observatory is structured around three key scales of observation:

Icon of a satellite over Australia | Featured image for Land Observatory | TERN Ecosystem Field Research Observatory Landing Page.

TERN Landscapes

Based on remote sensing techniques, provides spatial data products at regional and continental scales of landcover, landscapes and soil attributes to characterise and monitor Australian ecosystems.

TERN Ecosystem

A plot-based field monitoring capability, which tracks the direction and magnitude of change in Australia’s environments using data and samples on soils and vegetation.


TERN Ecosystem

Delivers TERN’s core long-term, time series data for detecting change in Australia’s ecosystems from observations and instruments at representative ecosystem reference sites to facilitate understanding of ecosystem processes.

TERN’s Data Services and Analytics platform manages datasets derived from its terrestrial ecosystem field observatory. TERN data infrastructure also enables the Australian community of ecosystem researchers to collect, contribute, store and share data.

TERN infrastructure observes, records and measures critical terrestrial ecosystem parameters and conditions for Australia over time from continental scale to field sites at hundreds of representative locations.

What is Land Observatory?

Landscape Observatory

Our landscape observatory provides data, tools, services, and equipment that are dedicated to detecting changes relating to vegetation structure and composition, land cover and bushfire dynamics and impacts. This platform allows researchers to gain easy access to:

  • Remotely-sensed data
  • Soil attributes
  • Landscape attributes
  • Standards, protocols, and technical support

Research communities will also find up-to-date case studies dedicated to ecosystem science and/or environmental management that utilise TERN infrastructure to find alternative solutions to accommodating partner’s needs.  

Ecosystem Monitoring

TERN’s ecosystem monitoring delivers an expansive range of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ infrastructure that is free-to-use, providing valuable resources and methodologies for researchers and land managers, including:

  • Scientific protocols and methods
  • Samples and specimens
  • Data
  • Monitoring and detection
  • Photo methods and image library
  • App, training, advice and more

Ecosystem Surveillance is a plot-based environmental monitoring program that conducts baseline assessments of ecosystems expanding across Australia. The objective is to build and maintain a national network of plots and transects that enable consistent ecological evaluation and monitoring over a progressive time period.

Ecosystem Processes

The ecosystem processes are studied through a rigorous field station which combines instrumented or sensor data with conventional field surveys and remote sensing activities at sites across Australia’s diverse environmental conditions. The platform delivers:

  • Micro-meteorological observations of atmospheric-ecosystem energy, carbon and water exchanges.
  • Biological and environmental observations of flora, fauna, microbial biodiversity, soils, and hydrology.

TERNS Mission & Who We Help

TERN measures important land observatory and ecosystem attributes over particular periods of time across hundreds of Australia’s representative locations, openly providing model-ready data that allows researchers and communities alike to detect and interpret any changes in existing ecosystems.

At the forefront of our data collection and observation, we aim to provide long-term preservation along with access to data that is analysis-ready, specifically for researchers and decision makers who are working alongside Australia’s ecosystems to understand their foundations and operations. This allows professionals to study and provide ways that we can help, as a community, prepare Australia for the future.

Explore Our Land Observatory Data & More!

If you’re looking for more information on landscape observatories, or simply interested in digging deeper, access the TERN Portal here and start exploring today. With an abundance of available data sitewide, you’ll find informative topics everywhere you turn.