A comprehensive look at Australia's land cover

16 November 2011

Landcover – Australia’s first comprehensive national map of land cover.

Landcover – Australia’s first
comprehensive national map
of land cover.
© Geoscience Australia

Australia’s first comprehensive national map of land cover was released today giving land and resource managers and researchers the opportunity to analyse changing trends in Australia’s vegetation cover.

Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP announced the release of the new map and dataset as part of Geoscience Australia’s role as the national data custodian.

Land cover is the observed biophysical cover on the Earth’s surface including trees, shrubs, grasses, soils, exposed rocks and water bodies, as well as anthropogenic elements such as plantations, crops and built environments.

Australia’s land cover changes constantly due to weather, seasonal changes and land use, so nationally consistent land cover information is essential to understanding and addressing a range of natural resource challenges. These include sustainable farming practices, management of our water resources, air quality, soil erosion, and our forests.

Produced in partnership with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), the land cover map and dataset will allow users to compare vegetation over time, at a national and local level, to monitor trends associated with short term changes brought on by cyclones, long term drought and bushfires, as well as cropping and broadacre agriculture.

The ABARES have also developed an information hub to assist land managers, planners and others who need to know more about land use, land management practices to use in conjunction with the new national land cover data.

Future updated versions of the map will identify actual changes in the land cover which could provide evidence of a need for action in areas such as water management and soil erosion, or that patterns of land use are changing due to economic, climatic or other factors.

Land cover products are available as a free download or to purchase through the Geoscience Australia Sales Centre.

Minister's media release.

Topic contact: media@ga.gov.au Last updated: October 4, 2013