RRRD027 Progress Updates

November 2012

Science Summary:

-  The first round of DEEDI’s rapid condition assessments (RCA) of land condition were completed in Oct 2011. More than 1000 sites were surveyed intensively (on foot), targeting areas of extreme condition (A and D) in the Burdekin and Fitzroy.

-  Ground cover data (1988-2010) (based on DSITIA’s Ground Cover Index) have been produced and supplied to CSIRO and DAFF along with satellite imagery (Landsat and SPOT). In addition, DSITIA has processed ~8500 Landsat images for the Burdekin and Fitzroy regions into fractional ground cover images for the period 1986-2010, and as of June 2012, the GCI has been replaced by the fractional product for ground cover estimation.

-  The first round of CSIRO’s field work was completed in late Nov 2011. Full on-ground assessment of 200 sites were carried out using PATCHKEY sampling methods (600 transects and over 2000 patches sampled) for the Burdekin and Fitzroy regions. A further 100 sites were sampled mid-February 2012. These sites were specifically targeted to areas predicted as very good condition (A) and very poor condition (D).

-  The preliminary ABCD classification and analysis has been carried out using the original ABCD model (Abbott and Perry 2008) to firstly look at changes in landscape condition for the time periods between 1986-1996 and post 1996. Preliminary analysis would suggest a movement from lower to higher condition states for the post 1996 period. Analysis of how the current ABCD model is performing compared to on-ground measurement (ground truthing) has also been carried out. It suggests that the model performs reasonably well in both regions; predictions of condition are correct or out by one condition class on >80% of test sites to date. The model does however appear to predict better for lower condition classes.

-  Distribution of draft products and training has continued with ongoing rollout of the 2010 ground cover update and VegMachine software training. Software training covered 22 new users from FBA, NQDT, DAFF, DSITIA, EHP and NRM. In addition support for users has addressed support requests from 8 users, around the regions.

-  DSITIA have begun rollout of their fractional cover data. This has included provision of data for FORAGE ground cover reports, and VegMachine datasets. The collaborative development of cover mosaics for VegMachine (VegMachine’s core data) is marking a significant advance in VegMachine data provision, since it ensures better data quality control, faster data preparation, and more regular data updates for industry and agency clients. Burdekin datasets, including a 2011 data update, should be ready to roll out to all clients in late November. This is a substantial extension of the original scope of the project, which aimed only to provide data up to and including 2010.

Progress Update:

-  CSIRO and DAFF have completed all landscape assessment field work due for this calendar year. DAFF work has focused on capture of D condition sites in the Fitzroy basin, which were the sparsest part of our validation data, and the work has managed to more than double the number of D condition validation sites in the FBA region. Further historical data sets are being sought from third parties to further increase this part of the data set.

-  Construction of an updated VegMachine dataset (1988-2011) for the NQDT and FBA regions is under way. It is being developed along with scripts to streamline and improve future delivery of ground cover data into VegMachine from DSITIA.

-  Sourcing and construction by DAFF additional validation data for the ABCD mapping as it becomes available. These will be used for validation by December 2012.

-  The validation of the ABCD imagery detailed above has greatly informed planning for DAFF field work this year. These analyses revealed that poor (C/D) condition sites in the FBA region are under represented in our validation data. As a result, DAFF field assessments will focus this year in the Fitzroy region, and particularly on poor (C/D) condition sites.