SuperSites

Fletcherview Tropical Rangeland SuperSite

TERN’s Fletcherview Tropical Rangeland SuperSite is located at James Cook University’s Fletcherview Research Station, two hours west of Townsville.

The site of this new TERN SuperSite is used for cattle grazing. Black and red basalt soils and alluvial river flats support a wide variety of flora and fauna across open savanna woodland, dry rainforest, lava flows, three creek systems and the Burdekin River.

Site Infrastructure & Characteristics

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SuperSite Research Infrastructure
  • Eddy-covariance flux tower*
  • 1 ha core plot*
  • Biodiversity plots
  • Acoustic sensors (4)
  • Phenocams (1 above canopy)*
  • Soil water content, soil water potential, soil temperature sensors*

* To be installed in 2021

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SuperSite Details
  • Vegetation type: Tropical rangeland, tall open woodland
  • Elevation: ~268 m
  • Rainfall: ~642 mm/yr
  • Soils: lack and red basalt soils and alluvial river flats

Site Research

The Fletcherview Tropical Rangeland SuperSite is an opportunity to obtain micrometeorological measures in an agricultural landscape, relatively uncommon in Australia, but much needed since research has shown that two thirds of Australia’s net ecosystem productivity (carbon uptake) is estimated to be from within annual ecosystems such as grasslands.

Grazed woodlands cover a huge part of northeast Australia, but the dynamics of these ecosystems—with respect to their carbon and water cycle—are relatively unexplored.

Grazed woodlands have potential to exert influence on the continental carbon budget through processes such as woody thickening, but we also know they are subject to pronounced climate variability, encroachment of invasive plant species, and changes in grazing system management that can have big impacts on ecosystem carbon and water fluxes.

The TERN Fletcherview Tropical Rangeland SuperSite will help researchers better understand the functioning of these systems, and how they might respond to a changing world.

Site Partners

Research Publications

Since its inception, TERN’s infrastructure has enabled the publication of more than 1600 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles or books.