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Monitoring and Reporting Landscape Condition on Defence Lands

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Defence has an obligation under Commonwealth legislation and under internal Defence policy for the long-term sustainable management of Defence land. A vital part of Defence’s commitment to environmental stewardship is the ongoing monitoring of the biophysical characteristics of the landscape, to establish limitations and the likelihood of degradation under Defence activities. The long-term biophysical management of the environment is critical to support Defence logistics, accommodation and training functions, day to day and in future. Land management actions are set out under a broad range of management constraints, which require ongoing monitoring to inform on future landscape management approaches. The application of landscape condition assessment provides a measurable threshold for land managers to make more informed decisions surrounding their land management practices, and to maintain Defence land that is fit for purpose.
Presented at the Defence and Industry Conference 2018, Hyatt Hotel, Canberra 14 February 2018. Jim Nikolareas, Richard Thackway and Chelayne Evans

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Monitoring and Reporting Landscape Condition on Defence Lands

  1. 1. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Monitoring and Reporting Landscape Condition on Defence Lands Jim Nikolareas, Richard Thackway & Chelayne Evans 14 February 2018 Defence Industry Conference 2018, Canberra
  2. 2. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL • Definitions and concepts • A nationally consistent method for monitoring and reporting landscape condition at an operational scale • A case study: Kapooka Military Area • Discussion • Conclusions Outline
  3. 3. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Definitions and Concepts
  4. 4. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL • Land capability is the inherent physical capacity of the land to sustain a range of land uses and management practices in the long term without degradation to soil, land, air and water resources • Failure to manage land in accordance with its capability risks degradation of resources both on- and off-site, leading to a decline in natural ecosystem values, agricultural productivity and infrastructure functionality Land Capability Source: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/soils/20120394lsc2spubslandingpage.htm
  5. 5. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Landscape Modification • Landscape modification is an assessment of change in ecological condition function caused by the effects of land management over time • Change and trend can be assessed relative to a reference state Source: VAST Framework http://www.mdpi.com/2073-445X/5/4/40
  6. 6. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Natural disturbance Anthropogenic Natural disturbance & Anthropogenic Understanding drivers of landscape condition – human management and natural events
  7. 7. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Land use and management practices influence ecological function Land managers over time use land management practices to influence ecological function of the landscape by: Practices • Modifying • Removing and replacing • Enhancing • Restoring • Maintaining • Improving We are deliberately and/or inadvertently responsible for changes in landscape condition Source: Thackway 2017 1. Soil Hydrological Status 2. Soil Physical Status 3. Soil Chemical Status 4. Soil Biological Status 5. Fire Regime 6. Reproductive Potential 7. Overstorey Structure 8. Understorey Structure 9. Overstorey Composition 10. Understorey Composition Soil Vegetation Regenerative capacity /function Vegetation structure & species composition
  8. 8. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Historical Land Use Indigenous land management First explorers Degreeof modification Logging Cropping Site 1 Site 2 Site 3 Time Reference state Long term rainfall Long term disturbance e.g. wildfire, cyclones Revegetation Baseline state Grazing Source: Thackway 2017
  9. 9. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL A nationally consistent method for assessing Landscape Condition
  10. 10. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Methodology • Mapping Landscape Capability • Mapping Landscape Modification • Landscape Management Units • Satellite-based Remote Sensing • Response Criteria and Indicators
  11. 11. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Mapping of Landform Patterns Landform Pattern Dark blue = Low slope and low relief Green = Low slope and mid-relief Yellow = Mid-slope and high-relief Red = High slope and high relief Source: http://doi.org/10.4225/08/57512079C1A93: Source: John Gallant
  12. 12. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Detailed Mapping of Landform Patterns Source: https://doi.org/10.4225/08/57512079C1A93 Relief Slope LE VG GE MO ST VS 0 1 3 10 32 56% 093090150300m PRLHHM Level Plain Moderately inclined rolling rises Steep mountains Steep hills Rolling hills Low High
  13. 13. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Class Relevance to Agricultural hazards Relevance to Defence hazards 1 Low slope and relief. Suitable for a range of agriculture. Few, if any constraints Few, if any constraints. 2 Suited to range of horticulture in rotation with pastures. Minor constraints. Stony, shallow phases of soil, moderate erosion and degradation of the soil surface. Constraints - moderate erosion hazard and degradation of the soil surface with soil disturbance - particularly vehicular, in training areas and buffer zones. 3 Suited to grazing and improved pastures. Limited cultivation. Constraints - moderate erosion hazard and degradation of the soil surface with soil disturbance - particularly vehicular, in training areas and buffer zones. 4 Moderate slope and relief. Suitable for grazing, not cultivation. Pasture improvement relies on minimum tillage techniques. Low, seasonal productivity, major environmental constraints. Constraints - moderate - high erosion hazard and degradation of the soil surface with soil disturbance - particularly vehicular, in training areas and buffer zones. 5-6 Non-arable while class 6 is often non-trafficable. Land suitable for grazing but not cultivation. Maintain or improve perennial pastures and preserve ground cover. Constraints – high to very high erosion hazard and degradation of the soil surface with soil disturbance - particularly vehicular, in training areas and buffer zones. 7-8 High relief and slope. Generally unsuited to agriculture or at best suited only to light grazing. Severe constraints. Constraints – very high to severe erosion hazard and degradation of the soil surface with soil disturbance - particularly vehicular, in training areas and buffer zones. Source: Based on Soil Conservation Service’s assessment of biophysical characteristics of the land, the extent to which these will limit particular type of land use. Classification of Landscape Capability (physical)
  14. 14. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL VAST = Vegetation Assets States and Transitions NVIS = National Vegetation Information System VIVIVIIIIII0 Native vegetation cover Non-native vegetation cover Increasing modification caused by use and management Transitions = trend Vegetation thresholds Reference for each veg type (NVIS) Classifying Landscape Modification VAST Framework Condition states Diagnostic attributes of VAST states: • Vegetation structure • Species composition • Regenerative capacity NVIS Thackway and Lesslie (2008) Environmental Management, 42,572-90
  15. 15. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL NB: Input dataset national dataset is Biophysical Naturalness reclassified using VAST = Vegetation Assets States and Transitions framework / replaced / unmodified Native Mapping Landscape Modification (anthropogenic) VAST classes I to VI Thackway and Lesslie (2008) Environmental Management, 42,572-90
  16. 16. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Naturally bare areas = VAST 0
  17. 17. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Unmodified Native = VAST I
  18. 18. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Modified Native = VAST II
  19. 19. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Transformed Native = VAST III
  20. 20. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Adventive /Ruderal = VAST IV
  21. 21. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Replaced and managed = VAST V
  22. 22. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Removed / Impervious = VAST VI
  23. 23. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Landscape Capability (physical) Classes 1 to 8 *Slope classes *Relief classes Soil hazard classes Landscape Modification (anthropogenic) VAST 0 to VI Ecological function Structure Composition Landscape Management Units Deriving Landscape Management Units *Slope + *Relief = Landform Pattern
  24. 24. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Assessing Landscape Condition (Ground Cover) Within the LMU Landscape condition within the LMU compared to a buffer outside the LMU Seasonal rainfall Source: https://www.farmmap4d.com.au/
  25. 25. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL 1 3 10 22 Diagnostic attributes Vegetation Transformation Score (100%) Criteria(10) Vegetation Structure (27%) Overstorey Understorey Species Composition (18%) UnderstoreyOverstorey Ecological Function (55%) Fire Reprod potent Soil HydrologyBiologyNutrientsStructure Indicators (22) Monitoring/ reporting benchmark indicators over time Source: Thackway 2017
  26. 26. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Example of indicators, criteria and components of condition Source: Thackway 2014
  27. 27. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Examples of responses of VAST functional criteria Criteria #1 Criteria #2 Criteria #3 Criteria #4 Source: Thackway 2016
  28. 28. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Case study: Kapooka Military Area
  29. 29. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Kapooka Military Area, Wagga Wagga NSW
  30. 30. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Class 1 – Gentle undulating rises (22); medium erosion hazard, shallow stony Class 2 – Plain with undulating rises (21); occasional flooding Class 3 – Undulating low hills (33); high erosion hazard; local water logging Class 4 – Rolling low hills (43); high erosion hazard; shallow Landscape Capability
  31. 31. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL VAST III - Transformed Native VAST IV - Replaced Adventive (Native and Exotic Mosaic) VAST V - Managed and replaced (Revegetated, parkland & recreational) VAST VI - Impervious (Infrastructure) Landscape Modification *Vegetation Assets States and Transitions
  32. 32. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Landscape Management Units Class 2 VAST IV – Plain with undulating rises occasional flooding / Replaced Adventive (Native and Exotic Mosaic); Class 4 VAST III – Rolling low hills (43); high erosion; shallow soils / Transformed Native
  33. 33. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Landscape Capability Class 2 & VAST Class IV Wagga Wagga Satellite-based Assessment of landscape condition 1000 m buffer Source: https://www.farmmap4d.com.au/
  34. 34. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Assessing Landscape Condition – Kapooka Military Area Land Capability Class 2 / VAST 4 – Plain with undulating rises occasional flooding / Replaced Adventive vegetation (Native and Exotic Mosaic); Source: https://www.farmmap4d.com.au/
  35. 35. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Discussion
  36. 36. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Transformationscore Years 1800 2016 Reference Relevance to developing scenarios for future landscape modification Modified Transformed Replaced/ managed Residual Replaced/ adventive VAST Classes1850 19501900 2000 2050 2100 Classes can be modelled as extent and condition Baseline Source: Thackway 2017
  37. 37. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Relevance to developing scenarios for future landscape condition Decision to set, and to manage to a target Target ground cover Source: https://www.farmmap4d.com.au/
  38. 38. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Intent of LMRs on criteria & indicators of function, structure and composition: Examples No active interventions Protecting biodiversity; restricting access; imposing minimal use Harvest products Removing biomass, fibre, flowers, fruit and nuts Enhance or improve Rehydrating soils; controlling invasive species; reestablishing a natural fire regime; broadcasting seed hays Extirpate or remove Continuously grazing; intensive cropping, improving pasture production; removing a natural fire regime; draining natural wetlands Reconstruct Revegetating; Rehydrating soils; stabilizing eroding top soil Prioritizing land management practices (LMRs) within LMUs over time and space Source: Thackway 2017
  39. 39. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL Conclusions • Monitoring and reporting landscape condition methodology can be applied on any Defence property at an operation level. • This integrated reporting will enable and provide cutting-edge monitoring and evaluation. • Changes and trends in landscape condition can help decision makers understand drivers of change - human management and natural events • Continuous monitoring and reporting of landscape condition (ground cover) linked to direct site-based measures can assist land managers prioritise and adjust on-ground interventions. • The application of landscape condition assessment provides a measureable threshold for land managers to make more informed decisions surrounding their land management practices, and to maintain Defence land that is fit for purpose. • Landscape condition is not a replacement for detailed biodiversity-based monitoring and reporting.
  40. 40. KLEINFELDER CONFIDENTIAL More information http://www.kleinfelder.com.au/ http://www.farmmap4d.com.au/ http://www.vasttransformations.com/ http://portal.tern.org.au/#/9f6d265e Advances in Military Geosciences - Springer Acknowledgements • University of Queensland • Many public and private land managers, land management agencies, consultants and researchers have assisted in the development of Farmmap4D and VAST & VAST-2

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