The Whroo Dry Eucalypt (Affiliate) SuperSite is located at Whroo in north-east Victoria (near Shepparton). There are also high quality satellite sites (at Rushworth Forest and Riggs Creek) that will provide the basis for scaling measurements from point to landscape to catchment within the region. TERN Airborne Lidar and terrestrial laser scan data is available for Rushworth Forest and a TERN OzFlux tower site at Riggs Creek (in the Goulburn-Broken catchment in North-Eastern Victoria) has collected micrometeorology data since 2010. The Riggs Creek flux station is located in an area of dryland agriculture dominated by broadacre farming practices with pasture being the predominant vegetation cover.
The Whroo Affiliate SuperSite, 45 km south west of Shepparton, was established in 2011 in box woodland and managed by Monash University. Flux tower measurements of energy, carbon and water exchange are complemented by vegetation measures including Leaf Area Index using digital hemispheric photography and optical instrumentation (LAI-2000/LAI-2200 and TRAC sensors); Biomass measures using an array of leaf litter traps, coarse woody debris surveys and tree inventory; Leaf photosynthesis and light response and Tree growth (automated and manual dendrometers). Data streams from 2018 will restricted to flux tower measures.
Prior to european exploration (Major Mitchell, 1836) and settlement (around 1845), Whroo was central to the lands of the Ngurai-illam-wurrung Aboriginal people. The name “Whroo” is derived from the aboriginal name for the key waterhole in the area “Wooroo” meaning mouth. The Whroo area was settled by pastoralists and the site of gold mining in the 1850’s with a township established (population peak of 2100 in 1857). All the town’s buildings have now been removed and a 500 ha area maintained as the Whroo Historic Reserve. Remnant native vegetation occurs in the Whroo and Rushworth State Forest area.
Whroo Site Characteristics
Vegetation around the flux tower site was classified as box woodland, dominated by two main Eucalypt species (Eucalyptus microcarpa (Grey Box) and Eucalyptus leucoxylon (Yellow Gum)). Smaller numbers of Eucalyptus sideroxylon (Ironbark) and Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle) are also found on site. Mean annual precipitation from a nearby Bureau of Meteorology site measured 558 mm. Maximum temperatures ranged from 29.8°C (in January) to 12.6°C (in July), while minimum temperatures ranged from 14.2°C (in February) to 3.2°C (in July).
Whroo Dry Eucalypt (Affiliate) SuperSite Ancillary Datasets
TERN OzFlux at the Whroo Dry Eucalypt (Affiliate) 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.
The Whroo site is also a part of the Land Ecosystem Atmosphere Program (LEAP)
Key research questions
- A robust observational and modelling platform for soil-plant-atmosphere carbon and water fluxes for a range of land-use practices, including carbon farming, in these landscapes will be developed.
- How does revegetation affect the interaction among carbon dynamics, water regimes (quality, quantity and frequency) and biodiversity across the landscape (above- and below-ground terrestrial, and aquatic ecosystems).
- How can carbon farming can be modified to increase biodiversity conservation.
Education and Outreach
Postgraduate research projects have been carried out at the Wombat SuperSite, including a study of surface water balance at Wombat State Forest using eddy covariance and sap flow techniques.
Community organisations advocating for the protection of Whroo include:
The Whroo Goldfields Conservation Management Network (WGCMN) was formed in 2008, and has grown to 250 members. The aim of the WGCMN is to promote appreciation and protection of the Box Ironbark ecology. Activities include on-ground works such as fencing and revegetation, field trips, nest box building workshops, presentations and talks to local groups and schools, participation in community events and displays.
The WGCMN currently has two Victorian State Government Communities for Nature funded projects underway, ‘Yellow Gums and Goldfields’ and ‘Linking the Landscape’. These projects aim to connect remnant vegetation on private land to public land and reserves, revegetate private property in strategic areas and increase the number of winter feed trees (Yellow Gums) in the landscape.
Resources for Managers
Detailed maps of Whroo can be accessed from the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment Forest Explorer website.