Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Activity and Management Report Summary - CASOAR (Landscape-scale Carbon cycle Analysis using hyperspectral remotely Sensed data Of plant and ecosystem functionAl diveRsity)

This project is within the scope of studies examining the impact of climate change on the carbon cycle of terrestrial ecosystems. The research has focused on the seasonal and inter-annual leaf dynamics (ecosystem phenology) of water-controlled tropical ecosystems in Australia. Ecosystem phenology is a key component of earth system models as it determines the favourable period for carbon and water uptake by vegetation. The specific objective of this work was to monitor, understand, and model the influence of monsoonal rainfalls and grazing pressure on the phenology of Australian tropical ecosystems. This research is timely because worldwide changes in the timing and intensity of rainfalls are forecasted for semiarid ecosystems.

Major scientific achievements have been (i) the installation of an Environmental Sensor Network in semi-arid tropical grasslands providing the crucial, though often overlooked, ground calibration of the remote sensing data, (ii) the development and testing of an ecohydrological model that improves our capacity to predict phenology and biomass dynamics in water-controlled ecosystems at the landscape and regional scales, (iii) steps towards a better understanding and representation of the role of plant functional diversity in carbon and water biogeochemical cycling. These findings are relevant to the sustainable management of pasture resources and forage for meat, milk and wool production. The project has fostered emerging and innovative partnership among academics and non-academics to improve our understanding of the dynamics and functioning of water-controlled ecosystems in the context of a changing climate.

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