Headlines for Seminar

Below a possible structure for a seminar. The idea is that it brings together what we can find out about the trajectory of Australia’s environment in 2015, focusing on a few categories. Good timing for it would be March or April, to hopefully give ourselves enough time to put it all together yet not be too far into 2016 yet. It could be about an hour, and we could do it at several places (e.g., Fenner, ABS, Dept. Environment, GA, Bureau of Meteorology, etc). In general I (Albert) propose to use the MODIS era (2000-2015) as reference period as several of our data sets are based on that.

Under each Theme there will be a few ‘headline indicators’ that summarise the data in insightful terms. In general these will be expressed relative to the full period available, which usually will be 2000-2015 for OzWALD or MODIS derived data, and longer for Landsat tree cover (LTC) mapping derived data. The expression of the value for 2015 could be

  • Percent above/below the average year
  • The rank of 2015 among years
  • Units (e.g., hectares) above/below the average year.

Which of these is the more insightful may vary - perhaps in some cases all 3 can be shown.

Continental view

Guiding question: How did 2015 rank continentally in terms of landscape health, environmental condition and carbon balance?

Headline indicators:

  1. Area of forest loss - LTC
  2. Area of forest gain - LTC
  3. Area burnt - MODIS
  4. Continental Carbon Uptake (GPP) - OzWALD
  5. Total leaf area (as a measure of biomass) - OzWALD
  6. Area in drought (say, the area with the worst drought since 2000) - OzWALD
  7. Total river flows (in GL) - OzWALD

Land use and land cover change

Guiding question: How have we changed Australia’s environment in 2015?

Headline indicators

  • Area of mature (>40 y) forest lost - TCM
  • Area of plantation forest cleared/gained - TCM
  • Greatest land cover/use category changes - DLCVv2? Is that even available for 2015? Probably not. Perhaps we can do something ourselves there?

Questions/topics to explore:

  • Summarise by region and identify main drivers.
  • Urban sprawl - maybe look at forest cover change within buffer of urban centres
  • Plantation forestry
  • Some information on Direct Action tender - how many ha trees and where?

Protected natural ecosystems

Guiding question: How did native ecosystems respond to natural and human impacts in 2015?

Headline indicators:

  • Area of protected forest lost/gained (TCM)
  • Area of protected areas burnt (TCM)
  • Number of protected areas with above average GPP (OzWALD)

Topics to explore:

  • major events (e.g., Kakadu fire, old-growth logging, Qld clearing) and show some Landsat images

Rivers and Wetlands

Guiding question: What flood or drought events occurred that impacted our environment in 2015?

Headline indicators

  • River flows - length of river with above average flows (OzWALD)
  • Wetland flooding - number of Ramsar wetlands with above average maximum water extent (Landsat)
  • Area of floodplain forest lost/gained
  • Maximum Lower Murray flows
  • Lake Eyre extent

Topics to be explored:

  • Max and min flow situation in nation’s rivers (from routed OzWALD flows).
  • Major flood events. Show some Landsat imagery.
  • Storage and flow situation in Murray and Darling rivers (from MDBA)
  • show Landsat before and after for MDB wetlands that were watered

Managed forests

Guiding question: How did forestry fare in 2015 and how sustainable is it?

Headline indicators

  • Natural forest loss/gain (LTC)
  • Plantation forest loss/gain (LTC)
  • Mean plantation forest age? (from LTC)
  • Managed forest growth (OzWALD GPP )

Agricultural land

Guiding question: How did agricultural production fare in 2015 and how sustainable is it?

Headline indicators

  • Total pasture growth (OzWALD GPP)
  • Total crop growth (OzWALD GPP)
  • Pasture health : mean percentage bare soil (form Fractional Cover Data)

Topics to explore:

  • Show agricultural production numbers from ABS
  • show irrigated areas from Landsat
  • land degradation: show 2015 bare soil fraction anomaly for grazing lands from MODIS fractional cover

Remaining data analysis steps to get there

  1. Unmix MODIS up to 2015 (David)
  2. Run OzWALD up to 2015 (Albert)
  3. Analyse MODIS hotspots and burnt area (Marta)
  4. Create (anomaly) maps from MODIS and OzWALD data
  5. Intersect MODIS and OzWALD data with land use data to get irrigation, cropping, grazing etc totals (David)
  6. Intersect MODIS and OzWALD data with environmental assets GIS (Parks, Ramsar) (David)
  7. Extracting selected example images from Landsat (Albert)