Long-term ecological research in Australia: innovative approaches for future benefits
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PPBio (Program for Planned Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research) is a system for long-term ecological research designed to answer integrated multidisciplinary research questions. The system is based on permanent plots (terrestrial and aquatic) that are systematically spaced in grids (e.g. 5 km x 5 km) and modules (e.g. 5 km x 1 km) within a hierarchical long-term ecological research (LTER) network. Modules and grids sample biodiversity and biophysical variation in an unbiased manner across the landscape. Infrastructure includes permanent plots that follow contour lines (survey lines with all measurements recorded on the horizontal plane) which facilitates orthorectification and validation of satellite imagery. All research data and accompanying metadata collected are stored and are publicly available to facilitate ongoing integrated multidisciplinary research at local, meso, landscape and global scales. The PPBio system was designed to overcome the problems of idiosyncratic designs and incompatible data arising from 'stand alone' research projects, which are difficult to integrate or continue through time. The sampling design and data sharing arrangements are structured so that PPBio sites serve as hubs for research, building long-term datasets that integrate studies within and among sites, providing the information necessary to understand and respond to complex and dynamic environmental issues.
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Conservation and Biodiversity