For a healthy environment we need to look at the whole system as well as individual plants, animals and organisms.
The Environment Institute prides itself on its biodiversity discovery program, which aims to build a substantial knowledge base for a multitude of biodiversity areas.
As a part of this work, whole ecosystems monitoring approaches and methods are developing through programs such as the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) and the Transect for Environmental Monitoring and Decision Making (TREND). These initiatives build on significant past efforts by scientists and governments to understand Australian ecosystems.
TERN is a $45M Research Infrastructure Facility for Australia. It aims to understand change in trajectory of ecosystems due to environmental pressures (e.g. disturbance and climate change) and determine how best to manage for future ecosystem integrity and biodiversity recovery. It facilitates this through being a:
- Network for ecosystem research and management
- Coordinate observation networks of ecosystems
- Facilitate improved access to observational data
- Identify future needs for research and management
TREND provides a system of data collection across bushland, farmland and marine environments to create evidence-based recommendations, guidelines and tools for monitoring changes in South Australian ecosystems.
By assessing impacts - along climate gradients - TREND provides an early warning system for changes in diverse environments. The research builds a lasting legacy to inform policy. It helps us to take proactive action in a changing climate.
Transects span strong temperature and rainfall gradients, as well as a wide range of ecosystems. We aim to detect regional patterns and trends by researching a combination of species composition and change, shared distribution patterns, morphological variation and genetic variation. By understanding the adaptive capacity of species, TREND aims to predict where species will persist under drier, warmer conditions.
The SA Transect
The Environment Institute shares a close relationship with both TERN and TREND ensuring up to date knowledge on monitoring ecosystems.