Remote sensing in evaluating the environmental impact of rangeland management
|Project type:||Long Term joint Research|
|Time frame:||2003 - 2005|
|Funding agency:||Avia-GIS | Belspo|
|Geographic keyword: Australia | Northern Territories|
|General keyword: Vegetation pattern analysis | Remote sensing|
|Specific keyword: Anthropogenic influence | Wavelet analysis | Change detection | Rangeland|
Knowledge of the processes and parameters involved in vegetation dynamics is an important aspect when land/vegetation management strategies are being designed. This is of special interest for private livestock companies and governmental organizations, which deal with an extensive form of livestock herding. This kind of herding practice typically has following main characteristic: vast land areas are used, which are usually of marginal agricultural importance for crop production such as savannahs, bush vegetation or dry mountainous areas. Because of the clear rainfall deficit compared to the potential evaporation and the lower soil fertility, these land areas have a higher ecological fragility, making a balanced vegetation-resources-management economically more important.
One such private livestock breeding and trading company is the Australian Austrex-GRM-CPC group (Australian Rural Exports Pty Ltd " GRM International Pty Ltd " Consolidated Pastoral Company Pty Ltd), which will serve this project as "end-user". To evaluate their herding practices regarding sustainability, the companies' livestock managers are interested in quantifying the impact of these practices on the environment. The test areas for this project are thus all located on the Australian continent.
The principal objective of this project is "the development of a software application to monitor the impact of rangeland management".
Rangeland management refers to the decisions that determine the grazing pressure on the paddocks such as the organization of the grazing (e.g. continuous grazing versus cell grazing), redistribution of the pressure (e.g. fencing, spelling, installing new bores) and vegetation control (e.g. controlled burning). When grazing pressure on paddocks becomes too high different processes can take place:
shift in cover: increase of percentage bare ground
shift in species with a turnover from perennial species to annual species. These annual species usually loose their nutritious value within a few weeks and are much less effective in protecting the soil against erosion during the first storms at the beginning of the wet season
shift in vegetation type. Of main importance is the bush encroachment due to the lack of fire as a management tool
When looking at the impact of the rangeland management it is important to look at these processes.
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