Tom Duff started to take over the maintenance of the RISERnet in Powelltown. He made a full battery change for the network on 17th March. He also brought back five faulty motes and fixed the incorrect sensor connections, three of which were fixed by Peter and redeployed on 8th April by Tom. The other two faulty motes must be replaced because of hardware issues. Peter will build two new motes to replace them.
The RISER stations are vulnerable to animals, particularly small mammals such as bush rats. Tom set up robust protections over the sensor motes while changing batteries on 17th March (see below). To prevent cable damage, Tom wrapped all the stations in a single layer of tough rubberized fabric. To allow battery changes, the batteries are mounted outside the rubberized layer, and a second layer is strapped around the battery in a manner that allows easy removal. Cables that run along the ground are housed inside garden hose and are protected at the ends with tape and rubberized fabric.
The Powelltown sites are situated next to an area that is planned for a prescribed burn next autumn (2016). The forest in both the RISER site and the burn area consists of “dry forest” (forest with high levels of grass and tough-leaved understorey species) that transitions into “wet forest” (forest that is ferny with wet/soft leaved understorey species). The wet forest requires much drier conditions to be burnt. This week we have been working at a similar burn about 20km north of the Powelltown RISER site, looking at flammability and species transitions (see below).