TREND - Transects for Environmental Monitoring and Decision Making - is a component of the Australian Transect Network, a long-term research and monitoring program dedicated to understanding how species and ecosystems change over space and time. The Australian Transect Network is a major initiative of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network, a collaboration of scientists and policy experts across Australia dedicated to exploring and understanding Australia’s ecosystems and agricultural systems.
TREND provides a system of data collection across South Australia's native ecosystems, marine environments, primary production regions and regional communities. By assessing the impacts of various potential climatic and environmental shifts, TREND will provide an early warning system for changes in South Australia’s diverse environments and a lasting legacy of long-term monitoring, informed policy and proactive response to environmental change.
The TREND program focuses on transects of bushland, farmland, social and marine environments in South Australia, which follow specific environmental gradients. These overlapping transects range from the relatively high rainfall region of the southern Mt Lofty Ranges to the hotter and drier northern Flinders Ranges, from coastal Wallaroo across to regional Renmark, some sites across the Eyre Peninsula, and marine sites within the Spencer Gulf and the Gulf of St Vincent (see transect map). Within the transects, species are being monitored in terms of their distribution, structure, life-cycle, overall health, appearance and genetic variation and social environments are monitored for changes in environment, economy, population and social landscape.
TREND is a dynamic project and will grow over time, continuously collecting new data that will assist managers of natural resources and agricultural systems to incorporate change into their planning. TREND brings together researchers from the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, the University of South Australia, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), and the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) as well as interested individuals and community groups.
Through embracing the latest technologies to collect data, TREND is encouraging public engagement and participation with its Citizen Science program. For example, at specified sites along the transects, people can collect images (through the use of a specially developed smart phone app) that will be uploaded to the TREND database and used by scientists to look at things like changes in fruiting and flowering of species over time.
By benchmarking new data against data collected 20-30 years ago in the Biological Survey of South Australia, and by comparing current ecosystem variation, TREND will detect indicators of change, thus identifying early warning signals for the future. These early warning signals will then inform government policies about environmental protection, agriculture and adapting to our changing climate.
TREND is part of the national TERN initiative and is supported by the South Australian Premier’s Science and Research Fund.