Gingin Banksia Woodland SuperSite is located on the Swan Coastal Plain, approximately 10 km southwest of Gingin, near Perth, Western Australia, sited on land traditionally owned by the Yued group of the Noongar people. The site has an elevation of 51 m and 2 km from the University of Western Australia International Gravity Wave Observatory.

The Gingin Banksia Woodland SuperSite is located in a natural woodland of high species diversity (overstorey dominated by Banksia spp.) that overlays the Gnangara groundwater mound, Perth’s most important groundwater resource. The mean annual precipitation is 641mm for this coastal heath woodland. The overstorey is dominated by Banksia spp. mainly B. menziesii, B. attenuata, and B. grandis with a height of around 7 m and leaf area index of about 0.8. There are occasional stands of eucalypts and acacia that reach to 10 m and have a denser foliage cover.

There are many former wetlands dotted around the woodland, most of which were inundated all winter and some had permanent water 30 years ago. The water table has now fallen below the base of these systems and they are disconnected and are no longer permanently wet. The fine sediments, sometimes diatomaceous, hold water and they have perched water tables each winter. There is a natural progression of species accompanying this process as they gradually become more dominated by more xeric species.

The soils are mainly Podosol sands, with low moisture holding capacity. Field capacity typically about 8 to 10%, and in summer these generally hold less than 2% moisture. The water table is at about 8.5 m below the surface, and a WA Dept of water long-term monitoring piezometer is near the base of the OzFlux tower.

The Swan Coastal Plain bioregion consists of five main geomorphic entities that are roughly located parallel to the coastline including three coastal sand dune systems with ages increasing inland from the coast.

Banksia Woodlands is restricted to the Swan Coastal Plain IBRA bioregion and immediately adjacent areas, including the Dandaragan plateau. Vegetation consists of a prominent tree layer of Banksia with scattered eucalypts and other tree species present within or emerging above the Banksia canopy, and a diverse understorey including sclerophyllous shrubs, graminoids and forbs.

The Gingin SuperSite is collocated with the Land Ecosystem Atmosphere Program (LEAP) - Gingin.

TERN OzFlux at the Gingin Banksia Woodland SuperSite

An eddy-covariance flux tower has been installed on this site since 2011. TERN OzFlux will maintain the flux tower instrumentation that continuously measures exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapour and energy between the terrestrial ecosystem and atmosphere. The eddy covariance instruments are mounted at 14.8 m with fluxes of carbon dioxide, water vapour and heat quantified with open-path eddy covariance instrumentation.

Ancillary measurements include temperature, air humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation, incoming and outgoing shortwave radiation, incoming and outgoing long wave radiation, incoming total and diffuse Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) and reflected PAR. Soil water content and temperature are measured at six soil depths. Surface soil heat fluxes are also measured.

The tower was erected in May 2011 with flux data collected since Oct 2011. Flux data is available from the OzFlux data portal and FLUXNET (Fluxnet Site Code: AU-Gin).


Installing guy wire footing for the eddy covariance flux tower.

TERN AusPlots at the Gingin Banksia Woodland SuperSite

There are TERN AusPlots established in the IBRA Swan Coast Plain region. AusPlots site data is available in the TERN ÆKOS data repository.

Data can be accessed from TERN's AEKOS Data Portal using "AusPlots" as a search term. Selecting AusPlots Rangelands Survey Program and searching for "WAGCOO0004" using the "Refinements" window on the left of screen.

CosmOz Soil Moisture Sensor - Gingin

Continuous soil-moisture measurements are collected by cosmic ray soil moisture sensors at the Gingin Banksia Woodland SuperSite, along with a logged piezometer, and nested piezometers installed with short screens for groundwater profile sampling. These sensors are operated by CSIRO and the Australian CosmOz network which is aligned with the international COSMOS (Cosmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System) network. These sensors detect fast neutrons released when water interacts with cosmic rays originating from outer space and provide average soil moisture over an area of about 30 ha to a depth of up to 40cm. Each system comprises a data logger, neutron detector, tipping bucket rain gauge and three surface moisture probes with data logged every 60 minutes. CosmOz data can be accessed from the CSIRO data portal.

Facilities for Researchers and Educational Visitors

There are a wide range of accommodation options available for researchers visiting the Gingin Banksia Woodland SuperSite between the small town of Gingin (10 km away) and the Perth city centre (67 km from Gingin).