TERN, Australia's land observatory: addressing the global challenge of forecasting ecosystem responses to climate variability and change

Cleverly, James, Eamus, Derek, Edwards, Will, Grant, Mark, Grundy, Michael J., Held, Alex, Karan, Mirko, Lowe, Andrew J., Prober, Suzanne M., Sparrow, Ben, and Morris, Beryl (2019) TERN, Australia's land observatory: addressing the global challenge of forecasting ecosystem responses to climate variability and change. Environmental Research Letters, 14 (9). 095004.

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Abstract

The global challenge of understanding and forecasting ecosystem responses to climate extremes and climate change is addressed in this review of research enabled through environmental research infrastructure (RI) provided by Australia's Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN). Two primary climatic drivers of ecosystem structure and function in Australia are fire and aridity, to which Australian flora and fauna have shown marked adaptability. Australian vegetation shows resilience to climate extremes of flooding rains, droughts and heatwaves such that variability in primary productivity of Australian vegetation has a tangible effect on the global carbon cycle. Nonetheless, Australian flora and ecosystems could be vulnerable to projected climate change (e.g. to increasing vapour pressure deficit). Refugia are also vulnerable to climate change, with conditions in these areas already near the tipping point for a change in community composition. Ensuring genetic diversity during directional change in climate (e.g. increasing aridity)requires proactive approaches to conservation and restoration projects. To address these challenges, TERN provides environmental RI at three scales of observation: (i) environmental monitoring using remote sensing techniques at a landscape and continental scale; (ii) a spatially extensive network of ecosystem monitoring plots; and (iii) intensely measured sites collecting detailed data on ecosystem processes. Through partnerships with international environmental RIs, TERN enables research that addresses global challenges, on the first steps toward the forecasting of ecosystem–climate interactions.

Item ID: 62658
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1748-9326
Copyright Information: Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.
Funders: Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN)
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2020 22:23
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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