Department of the Environment

About us | Contact us | Publications

header imagesheader imagesheader images

Publications archive - Ecologically Sustainable Development


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Are We Sustaining Australia? Report Against Headline Sustainabilty Indicators

Environment Australia, 2002
ISBN 0 642 54771 8

Value 21: Land health

Rationale for inclusion of issue

Along with the atmosphere, oceans and freshwater systems, the state of the land is one of the major factors on which the health of ecosystems depends.

Indicator 24

Catchment condition Index - proportion of assessed catchments that are in moderate or good condition in 2001.


Source: National Land and Water Resources Audit (with BRS/CSIRO), Catchment Condition Project, 2001

Rationale for selection of indicator

Catchment Condition Index is a condition assessment framework that has been developed by the NLWRA. It uses a classification system that incorporates available biophysical, river health and production data sets to define catchment condition and to provide an integrated Australia-wide report on the relative condition of catchments within the intensive land use zone.

Explanatory and elaborative information

The catchment condition index is based on 21 indicators measuring land condition, water condition and biotic condition. The purpose is to show relative differences between catchments and to map their distribution. Sub-indices are also calculated to better reflect land, water and biota as separate issues. Catchment Condition Index covers the intensive land-use zone only. The intensive land use zone is about two million square kilometres.

Catchment condition data have been divided into three classes. The catchment size is set at 500km2 and the three classes are based on the distribution where the "good" and "poor" condition catchments form distinct populations.

The data show that 17% of catchments are in poor condition. 83% are in moderate or good condition. About a third of assessed catchments are in good condition and about a half are in moderate condition.

Supplementary indicators