The tall, wet Eucalyptus obliqua forests predominate, and are part of the cool, temperate wet forest biome. These forests are among the most productive terrestrial ecosystems in the world and their management generates a disproportionately high social and political interest. The site also includes some areas of moorland, temperate rainforest, riparian and montane conifer forest and scrubs.
The Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite is partly within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which is managed for conservation, and partly within State forest, which is managed for multiple purposes including wood production.
Warra Tall Eucalypt was established as a Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) site in 1998, and is one of Australia’s most scientifically productive. It is a hub for intensive, multi-disciplinary research to understand the fundamental ecological processes in E. obliqua forests and the long-term effects that management has on those processes in contrast with natural disturbance.
Current research is focussing on the bio-physical processes that support the biota and how they fluctuate across scales both spatial and temporal.
Detailed knowledge exists for many elements of the biota at Warra Tall Eucalypt their habitats, their distribution and their response to disturbance.
Importantly, research done at Warra Tall Eucalypt has directly driven improvements in forest management more generally, e.g. the introduction of variable retention silviculture in mature tall, wet eucalypt forests.
Key research objectives
- to understand fundamental ecological processes in E. obliqua wet forests
- to assess and monitor biodiversity and geodiversity
- to determine the long term effects of different forest management regimes on natural diversity and ecological processes and thus assess their sustainability
- where necessary, to develop alternative management regimes
- to provide an integrated multi-disciplinary focus which complements research programs elsewhere in Tasmania
- to link Tasmanian forest research with national and international programs having a long-term ecological focus
For more information on Warra Tall Eucalypt research: http://www.warra.com/warra/projects_search.html
There is there is basic researcher and tourist-quality accommodation available at the Tahune Airwalk adjacent to Warra Tall Eucalypt. Laboratory space at Hobart may be available through negotiation with the Tasmanian land management and research agencies represented on the Policy Committee.
GIS layers have been collected at 1:25000 scale and include:
- forest type maps (vegetation structure) derived from aerial photography.
- fire history
- modelled climate surfaces (ESOCLIM)
- satellite images
- aerial videography
- environmental stratifications
SuperSite installations and monitoring
TERN SuperSites core 1 ha
The SuperSites core 1 ha (100 m x 100 m) is located within the fetch of the flux tower and is the focal site of recurrent monitoring.
Hydrology and climate
Weirs occur on the Warra, Swanson and King creeks. Sampling commenced in 1998. There are 17 monthly river sampling sites on Manuka, Warra and South Weld roads. Two climate stations exist: Manuka Road (elevation 125 m) and another accessed from Warra Tall Eucalypt Road (elevation 500 m).
Continuous forest inventory plots (CFI) have been established in the area since the late 1960s to early 1970s. These are measured at establishment, at five years, 10 years and then 10 yearly.
Species lists are available for vascular and non-vascular plants, vertebrates and some invertebrate groups (see www.warra.com/warra/species_index.html ). A stratified system of baseline long-term vegetation monitoring plots has been established at Warra, to complement the CFI plots.
For an overview of Warra Tall Eucalypt see http://www.warra.com/index.php/about-us
Permanently marked plots at the Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite
TERN AusPlots Forests sites adjacent to the Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite
AusPlots Forests have installed in the immediate area around the Warra SuperSite, including, a plot that replaces the 1898-North Wildfire Chronosequence Plot on the Zig-Zag track.
Other permanently marked plots at the Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite
Warra Silvicultural Systems Trial
The Warra silvicultural systems trial in wet Eucalyptus obliqua forest started in 1997 compares clearfell, burn and sow and alternative silvicultural techniques for lowland wet eucalypt forests.
Warra Wildfire Chronosequence Plots
The Wildfire chronosequence plots were established in 2005 to investigate successional processes in the fire-adapted wet eucalypt forest landscape of southern Tasmania. Plots are located in regrowth forest derived from major wildfires in 1893, 1934 and 1966/67 as well as old-growth forest that has not experienced wildfire in over 150 years.
Further information can be found at:
Turner, P.A.M., Grove, S.J. & Airey, C. (2007). Wildfire chronosequence project establishment report. Bushfire CRC Report No. B.07.01 .
Turner, P.A.M., Balmer, J. & Kirkpatrick, J.B. (2009). Stand replacing wildfires? The incidence of multi-aged and even-aged Eucalyptus regnans and E. oblique forests in southern Tasmania. Forest Ecology and Management 258: 366-375 .
Southern Forests Experimental Forest Landscape (SFEFL) plots
SFEFL plots were established by Forestry Tasmania from Warra extending east to the Huon Estuary in 2009. The aim is to assess the contribution of the "Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative" reserve system in maintaining forest-dependant biota in production forest landscapes.
Baseline Altitudinal Monitoring plots (BAMPs)
The BAMPs was established in 2004 to record baseline inventory and distributional biodiversity that can be used to monitor changes in altitudinal distribution of flora and fauna over time.
Further information can be found at:
Doran, N.E., Balmer, J., Driessen, M., Bashford, R., Grove, S., Richardson, A.M.M., Griggs, J. & Ziegeler, D. (2003). Moving with the times: baseline data to gauge future shifts in vegetation and invertebrate altitudinal assemblages due to environmental change. Organisms, Diversity and Evolution 3(2): 127-149 .
Greenslade, P. & Kitching, R.L. (2011). Potential effects of climatic warming on the distribution of Collembola along an altitudinal transect in Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum – Nature 55(2): 333-347. Brisbane.
Powledge, F. (2002). A look back at the International Biodiversity Observation Year. BioScience 52: 1070-1079 .
TERN AusCover activities at the Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite
AusCover has run airborne LiDAR and hyperspectral campaigns at Warra. Phenocams are installed on the flux tower to Integrate flux measurements and phenology to understand the impacts of climate change on Australian landscapes. AusCover data is available from the AusCover Visualisation Portal and will also be available from the TERN Data Discovery Portal .
TERN eMAST activities at the Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite
Plant ecophysiological measurements are being collected across a number of the TERN SuperSites including Warra by Owen Atkin's team (ANU) in a collaboration with TERN's eMAST facility. The aim is to look at ecosystem hydrology, net CO2 exchange and primary productivity in wet/dry and winter/summer.
Slideshare presentation : Plant ecophysiological measurements at TERN SuperSites. O. Atkin, K. Bloomfield, L. Weerasinghe.
TERN OzFlux at the Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite
OzFlux maintains the flux tower instrumentation that continuously measures exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapour and energy between the terrestrial ecosystem and atmosphere.
Flux data is available from the OzFlux data portal.
Education and Outreach
Since Warra was established as a long-term ecological research site in 1995, the site has been extensively used for undergraduate studies and post graduate research projects. This site is used by local and international universities including the University of Tasmania which uses Warra for components of the undergraduate Field Botany course and in February 2016, students from Carleton College, Minnesota, USA conducted field studies there as part of an international ecology course.
The Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite is used for school educational activities through the National Forest Learning Centre that offers field trips to a range of forest sites including the Warra SuperSite, to Primary and Secondary School groups.
Postgraduate Projects and Post-docs associated with the Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSiteSince 1995 over 80 graduate and undergraduate students have undertaken projects at Warra.
- 2013, Benedickt Fest, Phd project, Melbourne University, Soil atmospher CH4 exchange.
- 2014, Jessie Buettel, PhD project, Spatial patterning in tall eucalypt forests.
- 2014, Scott Whitemore, UTas Dean’s Summer Scholarship, Evaluating filtering algorithms and acoustic indices for processing acoustic data.
- 2014, Simon Marshall, UTas Dean’s Summer Scholarship study, Comparing the effect of preservatives on ground-active beetles caught in pitfall traps.
- 2015, Scott Whitemore, UTas Honours project, Acoustic data processing.
- 2016, Jennifer Peters, PhD project, Vulnerability of Australian ecosystems to water stress.
The Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite is nearby to the Tahune AirWalk , the premier southern forests tourist attraction. The Tahune Airwalk is a visitor centre that provides a focal point for Warra visits, supports visiting students with on-site accommodation and a range of nature based activities. There are plans to expand interpretative displays in conjunction with the SuperSite.