Updated mapping provides status of land use in Australia

14 November 2017

Over 585 million hectares, or 76 per cent, of Australia’s land use mapping information has been updated for the Catchment scale land use of Australia – Update September 2017.

ABARES Executive Director, Steve Hatfield-Dodds, said the updated data is the best available for Australia’s regions.

“This update improves the currency of land mapping information released in May 2016. These land use data products are recognised as foundational spatial data for Australia, by showing the location and extent of how we use the landscape,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

“Comprehensive land use mapping informs and supports innovative and prompt responses to economic, social and environmental challenges facing the agricultural sector.

“Some of these challenges arise in the scope of productivity and sustainability, biodiversity, conservation, land use planning, natural disaster management and natural resource investment and management.”

Land use data resources are developed by ABARES with national, state and territory agencies as part of the Australian Collaborative Land Use and Management Program (ACLUMP), with the support of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

“Land use is mapped using high resolution imagery and is then verified through local, expert and industry input and field validation. The data has a currency of 2003 to 2017 (reflecting when an area was last mapped) and a scale of 1:5,000 to 1:250,000.

“Land use is mapped according to the Australian Land Use and Management Classification version 8, released in October 2016. Primary, secondary and tertiary classes describe the use of land for conservation and natural environments, production from dryland or irrigated agriculture and plantations, intensive uses and water features.”

The following areas have been updated since the May 2016 release of the Catchment Scale Land Use of Australia dataset:

  • Desert Channels and Mackay-Whitsundays natural resource management (NRM) regions in Queensland
  • The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM region in South Australia (extending into part of the Murray-Darling Basin NRM region)
  • The state of New South Wales
  • The state of Victoria
  • The state of Tasmania
  • The state of Western Australia
  • The Northern Territory.

Complementing the Catchment Scale Land Use of Australia is the first release of a commodities dataset - the Catchment Scale Land Use of Australia – Commodities – September 2017. This commodity information can be extracted or combined with other spatial datasets to provide new insights and analysis concerning land use in Australia.

Agricultural commodity level mapping is available for all of the Northern Territory, and for the following commodities nationally (as at the date mapped):

  • Crops – rice, sugar cane, cotton
  • Fruit – bananas (except Southern Queensland), avocados, mangoes, olives, grapes
  • Nuts – macadamias
  • Livestock – dairy cattle, pigs, poultry, horse studs, aquaculture.

The focus of this first release of commodities data has been horticultural and intensive animal industries to support biosecurity preparedness and response.

These two national datasets and the original individual state and territory data (from which the national datasets were derived) are accessible to download via Land usee data download.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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