The Wheatbelt supports $2.7b from cropping/grazing and contains biologically significant landscapes that face significant challenges in a changing environment. This project provides an understanding of vegetation production, soil greenhouse gasses and water use from agricultural and forest lands thereby helping to make agriculture more efficient while protecting our natural systems. We will monitor and determine the balance of environmental demands for water yields, agricultural productivity, carbon storage and biodiversity within a catchment landscape. Therefore we will aid the sustainable management of natural resources, foster ecotourism and enhance food security.
The site provides nationally consistent observations of vegetation dynamics, faunal biodiversity, micrometeorology (climate, radiation, fluxes of carbon and water), hydrology and biogeochemistry to examine the impacts of disturbance, climate on carbon stocks and GHG emissions, and impacts on habitat quality via ongoing monitoring of vegetation structure and fauna. A wide range of ground based observations of vegetation structure and floristics is planned and all will link to remote sensing of fire and vegetation change over time. Measurements of carbon sequestration through time will be achieved via the instrumentation capable of directly measuring CO2, water use and surface energy properties (energy balance, reflectance).
The tower will provide longterm measurements as part of the Ozflux network and the infrastructure is partly funded through the NCRIS TERN OzFlux facilities.
The flux tower site is located within an area of dryland agriculture. The surrounding area is dominated by broadacre farming practices. The vegetation cover is predominantly pasture.
Elevation of the site is close to 330 m. Climate information comes from the nearby Pingelly BoM AWS station 010626 (1991 to 2016) and shows mean annual precipitation is approximately 445 mm with highest rainfall in June and July of 81 mm each month. Maximumum and minuimum annual rainfall is 775 and 217 mm, respectively. Maximum temperatures range from 31.9°C (in Jan) to 15.4°C (in July), while minimum temperatures range from 5.5°C (in July) to 16.0 °C (in Feb).