Ecosystems provide us with essential services such as carbon sequestration, water, clean air and biodiversity, valued at US$33 trillion p.a. globally. My contribution has been in understanding how ecosystems (and the services they provide) respond to climate change and disturbance to provide a fundamental basis for their future management.
I have developed and led the Land-Ecosystem-Atmosphere Processes and Interactions (LEAPI) group which is a skilled multidisciplinary research team undertaking a research program to determine how the Australian terrestrial biosphere will respond to climate and land use change. The focus is on the major ecosystem cycles (water, carbon, and nitrogen), biotic composition and ecological community structure for understanding changes in the provision of ecosystem services and the impacts of people and a changing climate.
I have provided an important foundation and tools for addressing policy-relevant questions posed by the potential future impacts of change and provide options for sustainable landscape management.
• ARC Linkage, LP140100871, Daly E, Rudiger C, Webb J A, Beringer J, Walker J, Dresel P E, Morse-McNabb E M & Camporese M, 2014-2014, $186,351. Summary: The aim of the project is to improve the understanding of different land use implications on water resource and land productivity. The project aims to use a paired-catchment study that compares the carbon and water balances in two catchments in the high rainfall zone in south western Victoria. One catchment is used prevalently for grazing, while the other is predominantly planted with blue gums. The main objectives of this project are: to quantify the effect of different agricultural land uses on the catchment water balance; to estimate the trade-off between carbon sequestration and water resources related to tree plantations and pastures; and to develop models at different spatial scales of catchment water balance for land-use management.
• ARC Future Fellowship, ‘Vulnerability of Australian savannas to climate change and variability‘, FT110100602, Beringer J, 2012-2016, $782,168. Summary: Australian savannas are productive and are culturally and biologically significant landscapes, but they are vulnerable to climate change. This project will determine savanna function (carbon and water balance) for the present and assess how sensitive they have been to past climate variability. The project will then address how they may respond to future climate change.
• ARC Discovery, ’Australian savanna landscapes: past, present and future’, DP130101566,Beringer J, Hutley L B, Yu Q, Schymanski S, Higgins S, Haverd V, Ryu Y, Wang Y, Williams Mathew, $527,500, 2012-2015, Summary: Australian savannas are productive and culturally and biologically significant landscapes but are vulnerable to climate change. The project will determine savannah function (carbon and water balance) for the present and assess how sensitive they have been to past climate variability. The project will then address how they may respond to future climate change.
• ARC LIEF, ‘Mobile weather radar system for advanced environmental monitoring and modelling’, LE130100136, Walker J, Deletic A, Beringer J, Siems S T, Sherwood S C, McCabe M F, Western A W, Moran W, Gray D A, Lambert M F. (2012) $340,000. Summary: High spatial and temporal resolution weather radar data on wind and precipitation will translate to significant environmental model advances. Australian researchers will undertake model validation studies on precipitation, dust storm, and flood prediction under a wider range of environmental conditions and in greater detail than currently possible.
• Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research (VCCCAR), ‘Responding to the urban heat island: optimising the implementation of green infrastructure‘, Williams N, Coutts A, Chandra S, McEvoy D, Livesley S, Hes D, Fletcher T, Tapper N & Beringer J, 2011-2012, $296,454.
• ARC LIEF, ‘Integrated Greenhouse Gas Measurement System (IGMS) for monitoring agricultural emissions at field to regional scales’, LE130100040, Chen D, Western A W, Grace P R, Griffith D W, Chung H, Hacker J M, Ryu D, Phillips F A, Eckard R J, Beringer J, Dassanayake K B, Denmead O T (2012) $450,000, Summary: Measurement of greenhouse gases is critical to Australia’s obligations to reduce carbon emissions. The measurement facility will provide urgently needed accurate emission data from Australian agriculture to establish emission baselines and develop methods to extend the point-scale measurements to whole farm, regional and national scales.
• National Computational Merit Allocation Committee, ‘The contribution of urbanisation, climate and mitigation strategies to the urban meteorology – A case study for Melbourne (Australia)‘, Beringer J, Coutts A & Demuzere M, 2012
• ARC Linkage, ‘Impacts of deforestation and afforestation on greenhouse gas emissions, and carbon and water resources in the Daly River catchment, North Australia‘, Hutley L, Beringer J, Livesley S, Arndt S, Boggs G & Richards G, 2011-2013, LP100100073, $376,234.
• Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, ‘Towards global water and energy balance monitoring using G-COM-W1 in the Australian Murray-Darling Basin’, Walker J, Beringer J, Rudiger C & Daly E, 2012.
• National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), ‘Impacts of elevated temperature and CO2 on the critical processes underpinning resilience of aquatic ecosystems, Thompson R, Beardall J, Grace M, Beringer J, 2011.
• National Collaborative Research Infrastructure (NCRIS) – Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network, ‘TERN EIF Priority 4 – OzFlux Flux Tower Network‘, Beringer J, 2011-2012, $158,669.
• National Collaborative Research Infrastructure (NCRIS) – Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network, ‘TERN EIF Priority 4 – OzFlux Flux Tower Network‘, Beringer J, 2010-2011, $240,000.
• Australia Pacific Network, Early Career Scientist Conference – APN Region Participation, Evans, BERINGER, Suni, 2009, $70,000
• ARC Linkage, ’Greenhouse gas and water resource implications of clearing and afforestation in the Daly River catchment, north Australia’, Hutley, A/Prof Lindsay; A/Prof Jason Beringer; Dr Stephen Livesley; Dr Stefan Arndt; Dr Guy Boggs , 2009-10, $500,000. Summary: Of Australia’s freshwater resource, 70% occurs in north Australia. The Daly catchment in the NT is largely an intact ecosystem but one earmarked for agricultural development. This will involve clearing of native savanna vegetation for improved pastures, with a new plantation forestry industry also likely to develop. The greenhouse gas emissions from clearing events will be tracked through time and shifts in carbon and nitrogen pools examined over time since clearing. The water resource implication of deforestation and subsequent afforestation with potentially high water using, exotic tree species will also be assessed. Data produced will enable calibration of modeling tools for these land systems to develop sustainable production systems.
• VSA Investment fund, ‘CITIES AS WATER SUPPLY CATCHMENTS’, Deletic A, BERINGER J, Chaundri V, Edie M, Fletcher T, Jakob C, Lant, Lynch A and Tapper NJ, 2009, $5,000,000
• National Water Commission and partners, CITIES AS WATER SUPPLY CATCHMENTS, Deletic A, BERINGERJ, Chaundri V, Edie M, Fletcher T, Jakob C, Lant, Lynch A and Tapper NJ, 2009, $15,700,000
• Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism: Second Generation Biofuels R & D – grant , ’2Gen Pyrolysis Biorefinery’, Damon Honnery, Batchelor W, BERINGER J, Garnier G, Ghojel J, Soria J, Tapper N, 2008-9, $1,729,086
• ARC LIEF “Airborne hyper-spectral scanning for advanced monitoring and assessment of vegetation and water properties“ LE0989062, A/Prof Jorg Michael Hacker, A/Prof Jason Beringer, A/Prof Jeffrey Phillip Walker, A/Prof Megan Mary Lewis, A/Prof Mervyn John Lynch, Dr Lindsay Beaumont Hutley, Dr Patrick John Baker, Dr Edoardo Daly, Prof Ian David Bishop, Dr Michael Jonathan Stewardson, Dr Peter Rhoderick Fearns, Dr Stefan Maier, 2009, $ 517,000. Summary: This proposal seeks to establish a new capability for airborne hyper-spectral scanning with applications in a wide range of environmental assessment and monitoring. Together with the already existing airborne full-waveform resolving LIDAR, L-Band microwave scanner, and synthetic aperture RADAR, hyper-spectral scanning will enable unprecedented determination and assessment of vegetation types; canopy health; canopy height; canopy and understorey architecture; very high-resolution (“cm-range”) ground topography (even if obscured by vegetation), and properties of water bodies and the top soil. All of these sensors systems are flown on state-of-the-art low-cost aerial platforms
• ARC Linkage “More bang for your carbon buck: carbon, biodiversity and water balance consequences of whole-catchment carbon farming“ LP0990038,Dr Ross Michael Thompson, A/Prof Jason Beringer, Dr Timothy Richard Cavagnaro, Prof Ralph Charles Mac Nally, Dr Patrick John Baker, Mr Mark Eigenraam, Mr Leon Metzeling, 2009-2013, $ 708,000. Summary: Carbon farming as a land use will impose significant changes on Australian landscapes. This project will explore the consequences of carbon farming at a whole catchment scale. The opportunities to use planned carbon farming to complement existing reserve systems and riparian restoration activities will be appraised. By exploring a series of future scenarios for uptake of carbon farming we will determine the best way to manage this change to maximise carbon sequestration and biodiversity outcomes.
• ARC LIEF “MEGA – Mobile Ecosystem Gas-exchange Analyser for Australian landscapes” LE0882936, Dr SK Arndt (The University of Melbourne) ; Dr S Livesley; A/Prof J Beringer, 2008, $ 135,000. Summary: This Mobile Ecosystem Gas-exchange Analyser will be able to continuously monitor water, energy, carbon and nitrogen exchange in a multitude of uniquely Australian ecosystems: from low-canopy forests (up to 20m) and afforested plantations to wetlands and agricultural grazing, cropping, horticulture and viticulture systems. This research capacity provides benefits and opportunities such as 1) community resource 2) monitoring tool for carbon and water budgets 3) mobile process laboratory 4) data for model validation. The susceptibility and vulnerability of ecosystems to changing temperature and extended drought will be determined.
• ARC Discovery “ Patterns and processes of carbon and water budgets across northern Australian landscapes: From point to region ” DP0772981 Dr J Beringer ; A/Prof JM Hacker; Prof K Paw U; Dr BG Neininger; Dr LB Hutley 2007-2009, $668,000.
Summary: Quantifying carbon sources and sinks and understanding the underlying processes are pre-requisites to informed policy decisions, especially as nations seek to develop strategies to manage carbon emissions and sequestration. Australia is unique because of its poor soils and high climate variability and is likely to have patterns and process of carbon that are globally different. We focus on Australia’s Top-End region, but will develop tools/methods that can be applied to other important Australian hot-spots. This project will support the existing National Carbon Accounting System by providing new information on processes and spatial variability and regional budgets of carbon and water budgets that underpin our international commitments.
• ARC Linkage “ Reengineering a dynamic vegetation model to explore the stability of Australian terrestrial carbon” LP0774996 Prof AJ Pitman; Dr J Beringer ; Prof W Steffen; Dr G Richards; Dr Y Wang, 2007-2009, $192,000,
Summary: Overseas models do not represent Australian biophysical processes well: our flora and fauna are unique and our soils are old and nutrient poor. In contrast, the National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS) is a world-class framework for estimating current carbon processes. By building NCAS expertise into an overseas model of soil and vegetation processes we can develop the capacity to increase our confidence in future projections of carbon and vegetation change. Our proposal, linking Universities, CSIRO and the Australian Greenhouse Office establishes a team that is internationally competitive. It will enhance local expertise and local model development to ensure national policy development is underpinned by world-class science.
• ARC Linkage “ Integrative assessment of disturbance and land-use change on total greenhouse gas balance and nutrient cycling in savanna ecosystems ” LP0774812 Dr LB Hutley; Dr J Beringer ; Dr SK Arndt; Dr S Livesley; Dr GD Cook; Dr K Butterbach-Bahl, 2007-2009, $190,000 Summary: Climate change and variability is expected to have an impact on the NT environment and economy. This project will enable NT specific calibrations of climate variability-land use models, such as the National Carbon Accounting System. The NT Government will have access to a high quality database and calibrated models relating to greenhouse gas emissions as a function of land use change. The project will improve estimates and management of GHG and provide a basis for the NT to potentially exploit future carbon-trading initiatives or GHG abatement schemes as fundamental data describing emissions as a function of land use will be available. This is of national significance given the size of the savanna biome in Australia.
• Land and water: Native Vegetation and Biodiversity Program, Social and Institutional Research Program and Tropical Rivers Program “Fire management in northern Australia: Integrating ecological, economic and social outcomes“. Dr Jeremy Russell-Smith, with Mr Joe Morrison, Prof Bruce Campbell, Dr Dick Williams, Dr Richard Smith, Dr Lindsay Hutley, Dr Jason Beringer, Dr Owen Price. (1 Dec 2006-April 2010) $547,000
• ARM (Atmospheric Radiation Measurement) Program “Surface Flux Heterogeneity in the Top End, US DOE (Department of Energy), Tapper and Beringer $23,050
• ARC Discovery “ Climate, Vegetation and Fire in the Australian Paleomonsoon: An investigation using paleodata synthesis, contemporary observations and model experiments “, 2005-2007, DP0557416, Prof AH Lynch; Prof AP Kershaw; Prof NJ Tapper; Prof GH Miller; Dr W Wu and Dr. J. Beringer, $280,000
• ARC Discovery “ Sustainable futures of Australian temperate forests: An investigation of coupled carbon, water and energy exchanges from hourly to centennial timescales”, 2004-2006, DP0451247, Beringer , Hutley, McGuire, $440,000, Summary: Australia’s forests are a critical natural resource that must be sustainably managed. We will determine the uptake/release of carbon from old growth and regrowth forests and assess the water budgets of the Melbourne water catchment. We aim to understand the current cycles of carbon, water and energy and how these may change over time (hours to centuries). We will integrate our observations with state-of-the-art models to improve our predictions of how forests will respond to change. This will aid our management of forests and forested catchments to ensure sustainable and viable water resources and optimise carbon sequestration
• ARC Discovery, “Fire scar impacts on surface heat and moisture fluxes in Australia’s tropical savannas and feedbacks to local and regional climate”, 2003-2005, DP0344744, Tapper, Beringer , Siems, Hutley, Lynch. $210,000, Summary: Australia’s forests are a critical natural resource that must be sustainably managed. We will determine the uptake/release of carbon from old growth and regrowth forests and assess the water budgets of the Melbourne water catchment. We aim to understand the current cycles of carbon, water and energy and how these may change over time (hours to centuries). We will integrate our observations with state-of-the-art models to improve our predictions of how forests will respond to change. This will aid our management of forests and forested catchments to ensure sustainable and viable water resources and optimise carbon sequestration.
• Monash University Research Fund (MURF – New research areas)“Savanna Dynamics: Climate, Vegetation and Fire Interactions”, 2002-2003, Beringer, Tapper, Haberle, Kershaw, $139,000
• ARC network seeding, “The Australian Climate System Network”, 2003-2004 (SR0354594) Investigators: Mr Colm Stephen Halbert, Prof A J Pitman, Dr Jason Beringer , Dr Nathaniel Lee Bindoff, Dr Matthew Heathcote England, A/Prof Albert Jerome Gabric, $20,000. Summary: The climate system integrates the atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere, biosphere, land-surface and the fluxes of energy, water and biogeochemical quantities between these elements. Changes in climate affect Australia dramatically: for example, the cost of the recent drought exceeded $10 billion. To enable internationally competitive climate system research, networking is required to enhance our national capability and our international connectivity. We will explore the establishment of a Climate System Network by facilitating communication between Universities, government agencies and CRCs. The Climate System Network will enable new climate-related questions relating to the sustainability of the Australian physical and Human environments to be explored.
• ARC Network “The ARC Earth System Science Network” 2004 (RN0460181) Investigators: Prof A J Pitman, Dr Jason Beringer , A/Prof Nathaniel Lee Bindoff, Dr Matthew Heathcote England, and 45 others, $2.0 Million , Summary: The ARC Earth System Science Network incorporates data collectors, modellers and impacts researchers to address the impacts of climate change and variability on Human, biological and physical systems. Our capacity to adapt to changes in water availability, agricultural productivity, the likelihood of species extinctions, and risks to human health will be enhanced through the Network’s use of frontier technologies. The enhanced capacity to use data and model the Earth System will allow policymakers to make more informed decisions with regard to water, biodiversity, human health, industry and agriculture sustainability; thereby enhancing the national capacity to respond to climate change and variability and securing our common interest.
• ARC Network “Australia-New Zealand Research network for Vegetation Function and Futures” 2004 (RN0459908) Investigators: Prof M Westoby and 45 others, Beringer listed partner $2.4 Million
• Department of Planning and Community Development, ‘Urban remote sensing’, Beringer J, 2010, $5124.54
• City of Melbourne Council, ‘City of Melbourne: Effectiveness of street trees in cooling urban climate‘, Coutts A, Livesley S, Beringer J, 2010-2011, $50,000.
• PTSMART and CIRAD – (2008/9) “The greenhouse gas balance for Oil Palm: It’s role in global change and opportunities for sustainable management”, $321,500.
• Environment Protection Authority (EPA) (2008) “Air Quality in Our Changing Climate” Jason Beringer, Nigel Tapper, John Pearce, $40,759
• TRACK Charles Darwin University, ‘TRACK‘, Hutley L, Beringer J et al., 2007, $40,000.
• ARC network for Earth Systems Science – Small project grant “ New national dataset for the characterisation of long term biosphere observing sites ” Isaac P., Hacker J., Cleugh H., Beringer J., Walker J., Hutley LBH, $10,000
• ARC network for Earth Systems Science – Small project grant “Coupling urban canopy models to a regional climate model for improved efforts in accurately modelling urban climates” 2005-2006, Coutts, A.M. andBeringer, J. , $10,000
• Melbourne University collaborative research grant “Impact of fire on the nitrogen cycle and greenhouse gas emissions in tropical savannas” 2005-2006, Arndt S., Livesley S.,Beringer J., Hutley, LB, $14,970.
• Monash University Arts Faculty project initiation grant “Impact of fire on the nitrogen cycle and greenhouse gas emissions in tropical savannas ” 2005-2006, Beringer J., Arndt S., Livesley S., Hutley, LB, $10,000.
• Charles Darwin University, project grant “Tree clearing impacts on land-atmosphere exchanges in the Daly catchment ”, 2005-2006, Dr Lindsay Hutley (CI), Dr Jason Beringer (CCI), Mr Peter Jolly (CCI), $7,600.
• Charles Darwin University, project grant “Woody-tissue respiration and photosynthesis in north Australian savanna trees”. 2004-2005, Hutley, Cernusak, Beringer$7964
• Arts Research and Teaching Fellowship scheme “Research priority in Environmental change and variability in Pacific Asia“, 2003-2004, Beringer , $10,000
• Arts Faculty Small Grant “Influence of the urban housing density on local climate and the impact of Melbourne’s 2030 Vision” 2004, Beringer and Coutts, $10,000
• NSF Suominet grant, “Integrated water vapour and total electron content measurement using GPS based network”, 2001-2006,Beringer, $20,000 USD
• Arts Matching funds, “Integrated water vapour and total electron content measurement using GPS based network”, 2001-2002,Beringer, $9500
• Arts Faculty Small Grant “The carbon cycle in Australia’s tropical savanna lands and the role of fire”, 2002-2003,Beringer ,$10,000.
• Arts Faculty Small Grant “The impact of savanna fire scars on atmospheric boundary layer development and consequences for local climate”, 2003-2004, Beringer, $8,262
• MURF Travel grant “Ameriflux, Visit Lynch, ATLAS synthesis” 2002, Beringer , $2,200
• MURF Travel grant “Savanna conf (Edinburgh) and ILEAPS (Helsinki)” 2003, Beringer, $2500
• Climate System (ENVT2220)
• Environmental Change (GEOG3304)
• Environmental Monitoring and Sensors (ENVT5516)
• Env Sci and Tech (ENVT1103) Guest
• Disasters (GEOG1104) Guest
My program bridges across three themes and these are applied to different key ecosystems (savanna, urban, woodlands, tall forests and agriculture):
1. Terrestrial ecosystem-atmosphere research: Provide reliable estimates of greenhouse gas cycling (CO2, CH4, N20) and water budgets over important Australian ecosystems using intensive biogeochemical observatories (Flux Towers) that measure fluxes of water, CO2 and energy.
2. Integration and scaling: Reduce the uncertainty of estimates and scale up to regions.
3. Modelling and synthesis: Predict the responses of Australian ecosystems and their biophysical and biogeochemical cycles, to changing environmental conditions and land use change.
Key discipline areas : Primary areas of interest include micrometeorology, boundary layer climatology, land/atmosphere interactions, land surface modelling, remote sensing and global change (earth systems science).
Micrometeorology: Fundamental understanding of the interactions between the surface and atmosphere can only come about through rigorous measurement and modelling programs. I use various micrometeorological techniques to measure exchanges of heat, water and carbon dioxide from the surface. Future research may include measurements of CO2 isotope and isoprene fluxes. I am establishing a long-term energy and CO2 flux-monitoring site in the old growth Mountain Ash forest in Kinglake to investigate long-term carbon and water budgets in natural ecosystems.
Climate change: An over arching interest in global change and earth system interactions. Primary the links between the biosphere and climate change. Both physical and biogeochemical changes in the landscape will feedback to affect the carbon cycle and greenhouse gas emissions. Through micrometeorological techniques we can measure the sources and sinks of carbon in systems.
Land-atmosphere interactions: The land surface is vital in driving climate on multiple scales. Changes in vegetation type, soil parameters, and land/water interfaces are likely to feedback to alter climate. Current research includes investigating the interactions between fire, vegetation and climate. I also utilise land surface models and remote sensing in teaching and research.
Airborne Research Australia (Board member)