The TERN Australian SuperSite Network (www.tern-supersites.net.au) is a national network that that links ecological and biogeochemical processes across significant Australian biomes and environmental conditions. The objective is to understand how key ecosystems will respond to future environmental change by setting up a nationally consistent network of multidisciplinary and intensive ecosystem observatories. Observations can be used to develop models that explain vegetation dynamics, carbon, water and nutrient cycling, and faunal biodiversity patterns. The sites will be key calibration and validation sites and have been selected for their suitability for remote sensing applications and ground truthing exercises of AusCover.
Each of the supersites has core activities’ 1) installation of an eddy covariance tower as part of the Ozflux network (fluxes, microclimate, soil sensors, phenocam and radiation), 2) plant physiological measurements (to link carbon and water exchange across scales leaf, canopy, vegetation type) and long term vegetation/faunal monitoring.
The Litchfield National Park Savanna Super Site (SSS) is a supersite representative of mesic tropical savanna, an extensive ecosystem that occurs across north Australia. It is located within Litchfield National Park, approximately 80 km south of Darwin, NT and is a 5 x 5 km block of relatively uniform savanna vegetation. The underlying principle is linking long-term ground based observations of vegetation structure and floristics with remote sensing and fluxes of mass and energy. The site is frequently burnt and impacts of fire on carbon sequestration can be investigated. Remote sensing focusses on canopy dynamics, remote sensing of fuel production from both tree and grass components.