Great Western Woodlands TERN SuperSite (58)

Access Site 58 data on A2O data portal.

Site name: Great Western Woodlands TERN SuperSite
Site number: 58
Point numbers: 229 (GWW Dry A), 230 (GWW Wet A), 231 (GWW Dry B), 232 (GWW Wet B)
Ecoregion: Mediterranean forests, woodlands and scrubs
Participant and site owner: CSIRO, Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network
Site location: South Western Australia
Latitude: -30.125
Longitude: 120.375
Site description: The Great Western Woodlands (GWW) comprises a 16-million hectare mosaic of temperate woodland, heathland and mallee vegetation in south-west Western Australia. It is the largest remaining intact temperate or ‘Mediterranean’ woodland in the world and is unique in being able to survive on as little as 250 mm annual rainfall. The SuperSite site comprises a mosaic of temperate woodland, heathland and Mallee vegetation.

The region has remained relatively intact since European settlement, owing to the variable rainfall and lack of readily accessible groundwater. Other temperate woodlands around the world have become highly fragmented and degraded through agricultural use.

The GWW thus provides a unique opportunity to study how semi-arid woodland ecosystems function at site and landscape scales, and how naturally functioning, intact ecosystems can adapt to climate change. The woodlands also offer significant potential to inform climate-resilient restoration of the Western Australian wheatbelt.

Research at GWW is managed by CSIRO in collaboration with the Department of Parks and Wildlife WA, land managers and Traditional Owners.

Tumbarumba Wet Eucalypt TERN SuperSite (60)

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Site name: Tumbarumba Wet Eucalypt TERN SuperSite
Site number: 60
Point numbers: 237 (Tumbarumba Dry A), 238 (Tumbarumba Wet A), 239 (Tumbarumba Dry B), 240 (Tumbarumba Wet B)
Ecoregion: Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests
Participant and site owner: CSIRO, Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network
Site location: Bago State Forest, New South Wales
Latitude: -35.650
Longitude: 148.100
Site description: Tumbarumba, in the Bago State Forest is one of the few southern hemisphere sites that has provided records for longer than a decade of the weather, climate, net uptake of CO2 and loss of water via evapotranspiration. Bago is a managed, open wet sclerophyll eucalyptus forest, and the partnership between OzFlux and the Australian SuperSite Network is expected to improve understanding of how logging practices affect the amount of carbon and water entering, stored in and leaving the forest, and how these factors in turn influence the ecosystem as a whole.

Apart from continuously measuring the exchanges of carbon dioxide and water vapour between the forest and the atmosphere, Tumbarumba has been the site of various intensive measurement campaigns to improve our understanding on how airflow, terrain and forest structure affect the way the ecosystem takes up and releases carbon and uses water. As part of this effort CSIRO has carried out independent measurements of carbon pools, stocks and turnover rates. These measurements, along with atmospheric fluxes, have been used to improve the surface–vegetation–atmospheric–transfer (SVAT) models. SVAT models describe how energy, carbon and water are exchanged between land and atmosphere, and Tumbarumba has played a major role in improving SVAT modelling in Australia over the last decade.

Tumbarumba has also been a key site for measuring the important effects that vegetation has on the lower atmosphere, including the exchange of heat, and the production of particles and chemical species that are highly reactive and contribute to the formation of aerosols. A large international campaign provided measurements of the characteristics and dynamics of atmospheric ions, aerosol particles, and their precursors.

Detailed observations on leaf area index taken from both hemispherical photography and forest structure measurements using Echidna have been used to evaluate plant growth and canopy cover. Echidna is a ground-based laser that scans a full hemisphere from a point on the forest floor and is used for ecological assessment and to estimate wood volume and forest growth. This is complemented by data on above-ground biomass taken through airborne LIDAR surveys carried out by AusCover. The LIDAR data, in combination with hyperspectral data, offer the means to look at forest disturbance after harvest.

Gingin Banksia Woodland TERN SuperSite (57)

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Site name: Gingin Banksia Woodland TERN SuperSite
Site number: 57
Point numbers: 225 (Gingin Dry A), 226 (Gingin Wet A), 227 (Gingin Dry B), 228 (Gingin Wet B)
Ecoregion: Mediterranean forests, woodlands and scrubs
Participant and site owner: Edith Cowan University, The University of Western Australia, CSIRO, Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network
Site location: South Western Australia
Latitude: -31.376
Longitude: 115.714
Site description: Gingin Banksia Woodland SuperSite is located on the Swan Coastal Plain, approximately 10 km southwest of Gingin, near Perth, Western Australia, sited on land traditionally owned by the Yued group of the Noongar people. The site has an elevation of 51 m and 2 km from the University of Western Australia International Gravity Wave Observatory.

The Gingin Banksia Woodland SuperSite is located in a natural woodland of high species diversity (overstorey dominated by Banksia spp.) that overlays the Gnangara groundwater mound, Perth’s most important groundwater resource. The mean annual precipitation is 641mm for this coastal heath woodland. The overstorey is dominated by Banksia spp. mainly B. menziesii, B. attenuata, and B. grandis with a height of around 7 m and leaf area index of about 0.8. There are occasional stands of eucalypts and acacia that reach to 10 m and have a denser foliage cover.

There are many former wetlands dotted around the woodland, most of which were inundated all winter and some had permanent water 30 years ago. The water table has now fallen below the base of these systems and they are disconnected and are no longer permanently wet. The fine sediments, sometimes diatomaceous, hold water and they have perched water tables each winter. There is a natural progression of species accompanying this process as they gradually become more dominated by more xeric species.

The soils are mainly Podosol sands, with low moisture holding capacity. Field capacity typically about 8 to 10%, and in summer these generally hold less than 2% moisture. The water table is at about 8.5 m below the surface, and a WA Dept of water long-term monitoring piezometer is near the base of the OzFlux tower.

Alice Mulga TERN SuperSite (54)

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Site name: Alice Mulga TERN SuperSite
Site number: 54
Point numbers: 213 (Alice Dry A), 214 ( Alice Wet A), 215 ( Alice Dry B), 216 ( Alice Wet B)
Ecoregion: Deserts and xeric shrublands
Participant and site owner: University of Technology Sydney, CSIRO, Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network
Site location: Pine Hill Cattle Station, Northern Territory
Latitude: -22.300
Longitude: 133.200
Site description: The Alice Mulga SuperSite is located on Pine Hill Cattle Station approximately 200 km north of Alice Springs, Northern Territory. It lies in the expansive arid and semi-arid portion of mainland Australia that receives less than 500 mm of annual rainfall. The site includes Mulga woodland, hummock grassland, and River Red Gum forest. The SuperSite Core 1 ha is located in a dense Mulga woodland (cover 70–80%).