Monitoring and reporting on landcover change provides a scientific basis for measuring environmental, social and economic impacts to the natural resources and biodiversity of New South Wales. Understanding these changes at a landscape scale is fundamental to effective management of our natural resources.
We monitor and report on landcover change due to:
- clearing of native vegetation
The NSW Government has monitored and reported on landcover change since 2008. Landcover change was focused primarily on woody vegetation, with data back-captured from 1988. When new legislation was introduced on 25 August 2017, monitoring and reporting of both woody (forests and woodlands) and non woody (grasses, small shrubs and groundcover) vegetation change was implemented on land regulated under the Local Land Services Act 2013 (LLS Act).
How we detect vegetation change
We use satellite imagery combined with comprehensive human interpretation and validation to detect vegetation change. Results are assigned to a landcover class that indicates why vegetation was cleared. These classes include:
- Agriculture – such as grassland, cropping, horticulture, farm infrastructure – note that when change due to farm infrastructure is initially detected it is classed within agriculture, but when data is processed for reporting it is separated into the infrastructure group to understand these changes as part of the wider infrastructure class.
- Infrastructure – such as residential, commercial, mining, public infrastructure.
- Forestry – such as native and plantation harvesting, establishment, thinning, forestry infrastructure.
Assignment of these classes is primarily based on visual interpretation of the location and pattern of the clearing with reference to supporting data sources such as tenure.