South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
MILTON, S.J.; DEAN, W.R.J.; O'CONNOR, T.G. and MILLS, A.J.. Scaling up from site-based research to a national research and monitoring network: lessons from Tierberg Karoo Research Centre and other design considerations. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2007, vol.103, n.7-8, pp. 311-317. ISSN 1996-7489.
South Africa is in the process of setting up a national environmental observatory system (SAEON) to monitor and gain a predictive understanding of the effects of climate change and land use on biodiversity, carbon and nutrient fluxes, soils and sediments, primary and secondary productivity, hydrology and disturbance regimes. It is intended that the data should be archived, analysed and translated into information accessible to decision-makers. We present a case that illustrates the infrastructural needs and challenges for long-term research and then discuss optimal designs and collaborations required to detect change in many variables, land-use types and geographical areas of South Africa.