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Sustainable Futures of Australian Temperate Forests

Ex- application engineer Jason Beringer and his colleague Lindsay Hutley have been hard at work researching the uptake and release of carbon in old growth and regrowth forests and assessing the water budgets of the water catchment at Wallaby Creek, Victoria. The catchment is an excellent example of a temperate growth forest in that it has intact old growth stands with some individual trees over 300 years old.

The overall objectives of this fascinating study are to understand the complex coupling of carbon, water and energy cycles within Australia’s temperate forests over
various temporal scales in order to assess the impact of future environmental change.
At the heart of this complex project is a Campbell Scientific CR5000 datalogger and Eddy Covariance system. The EC system which incorporates a CSAT3 3-D sonic anemometer and a fast response CS7500 CO2/H2O open path infrared gas analyser (IRGA) are mounted on a 110 metre high tower.

The EC system and tower have been established at the site to measure the carbon,
water and energy fluxes over a period of three years. Hourly measurements of fluxes,
meteorological variables and component processes are used to examine canopy scale processes and mechanisms controlling fluxes. A full suite of environmental and climate measurements made concurrently with the flux measurements include photosynthetically active radiation, air temperature, vapour pressure, atmospheric pressure, soil moisture content, wind speed and direction and phenology.

CO2 and water vapour storage within the canopy air volume will also be measured in the future using a closed path Li-Cor CO2/H2O analyser that sequentially samples a vertical profile through the canopy.