This theme considers the state of our soil and vegetation resources, the pressures they face, and issues and priorities for management.
This chapter provides an account of the most significant and recent human impacts on our land. Our focus is relatively narrow – primarily on land use, vegetation and soil. In particular we focus on the land-management practices and landscape processes that, in the authors’ views, warrant most attention. (SoE 2011, 5 Land - 1.3 In this chapter)
- Our land use is changing in response to new priorities and new pressures.
- The rate of land clearing, one of the most significant pressures affecting the land environment, averaged around 1 million hectares annually over the decade to 2010.
- Widespread landscape-scale pressures, particularly those due to invasive species and inappropriate fire regimes, continue to threaten environmental values across much of Australia’s land environment.
- Soil processes, including acidification, erosion and loss of soil carbon, will increasingly affect Australia’s agriculture unless they are carefully managed.
- Climate change is expected to bring about profound changes in the Australian land environment, particularly native vegetation and production systems.
- Management effectiveness of the land environment varies.
- Governance and institutional arrangements for management of the land environment need improvement, and levels of investment are inadequate.
- There is a serious capacity gap in the professional and technical human resources necessary for effective land management, including both a growing shortage of qualified people and a lack of relevant skills and experience among the next generation of land managers.
- The outlook for Australia’s land environment is mixed.
For more details see SoE 2011 - Land: Key findings
- At the national level, the rate of vegetation clearing has decreased in recent years in many states.
- Sheep and cattle grazing derives high economic value for Australia but, in doing so, continues to place heavy pressures on soils, vegetation, and terrestrial and wetland habitats, especially in sensitive areas.
- The ongoing decline in soil quality is of concern.
- The need to take a landscape-wide view of land and vegetation management is increasingly being recognised by governments, regional management groups and farmers.
- The regional NAP and NHT programmes remain important in funding and guiding catchment and bioregion-based planning and management actions.
For more details see SoE 2006 - Land: Key points
- Australia State of the Environment 2011: Chapter 5. Land
- Australia State of the Environment 2011: In Brief
- In Brief (PDF - 3,290 KB)
- Supplementary Products
- Fractional cover data derived from MODIS
Provides a “live” map of Australia from 2000 – 2011 – fractional cover derived from MODIS data from the beginning of 2000 to May 2011. The images are derived from remotely sensed data, showing proportion of bare soil, photosynthetically active vegetation and non-synthetically active vegetation.
- Analysis of continental scale vegetation cover over the last decade (PDF - 1,727 KB) | (Word - 3,361 KB)
This report provides an analysis of a ten year time series of vegetation greenness from data collected by sensors carried on satellites that make regular passes over Australia reveal the extent to which green vegetation cover (greenness) varies in response to fluctuations in rainfall, and major disturbances such as wildfires, cyclones and severe storms.
- Assessments of status and trends in soil organic carbon workshop – summary notes (PDF - 630 KB) | (Word - 477 KB)
This report provides the Workshop outcomes from a group of experts in soil carbon and land resource assessment which developed an assessment of the state and trends of soil carbon across Australia.
- Connectivity conservation in Australian landscapes (PDF - 1,705 KB) | (Word - 9,240 KB)
Connectivity conservation areas interconnect protected areas with natural and semi-natural lands, they help maintain large-scale natural Australian landscapes and ecosystem processes and they are a natural biodiversity conservation partner to the National Reserve System. This report provides an overview of connectivity conservation and management of seven large-scale connectivity conservation areas in Australia.
- Indigenous land and sea management – a case study (PDF - 1,158 KB) | (Word - 1,162 KB)
The report provides an overview of Indigenous land and sea management, also referred to as “caring for country”.
- Status and trends in soil acidification workshop – summary notes (PDF - 735 KB) | (Word - 557 KB)
This report provides the Workshop outcomes from a group of experts in soil acidification and land resource assessment, which developed an assessment of the state and trends of soil acidification across Australia.
- Wind erosion and land management in Australia during 1940-1949 and 2000-2009 (PDF - 1,933 KB) | (Word - 2,329 KB)
The paper provides the outcomes of a project on wind erosion: quantifying wind erosion across Australia for 1940-1949 and 2000-2009; examining the likely impact of changes in land management on wind erosion in the two periods; and presents annual wind erosion maps across Australia for 2000-2009.
- Fractional cover data derived from MODIS
- Australia State of the Environment 2006: Chapter 8. Land
- Australia State of the Environment 2006 AT A GLANCE
- Land - Theme commentary
- An integrated approach to environment and heritage issues - Integrative commentary
- Changing the delivery of environmental stewardship in Australia - Integrative commentary
- Critical issues in regional natural resource management - Integrative commentary
- Indigenous involvement in environmental and heritage management - Integrative commentary
- Living in a land of fire - Integrative commentary
- Living in a variable climate - Integrative commentary
- The suburbanisation of coastal Australia - Integrative commentary
- Birds of woodlands and grasslands - Current or emerging issues paper
- Chemicals in the environment - Current or emerging issues paper
- Genetically modified organisms - Current or emerging issues paper
- Incentives for natural and cultural heritage conservation - Current or emerging issues paper
- Monitoring in the rangelands - Current or emerging issues paper
- Progress in restoring our environment - Current or emerging issues paper
- Review of the EPBC Act - Current or emerging issues paper
- The dilemma of conflicting environmental outcomes - Current or emerging issues paper
- The Great Green Debate: urban myths, risks and alternative opinions - Current or emerging issues paper
- Data Reporting System - Theme: Land
- Australia State of the Environment 2001: Thematic findings - Land
- Key Findings Brochure
- Land Theme Report
- Wind Erosion Trends From Meteorological Records - Technical paper
- Environmental indicators for national state of the environment reporting: The Land
- Australia State of the Environment 1996: Chapter 6 - Land Resources
- Key Findings from the First Independent National Report
- Distribution of Petroleum Resources in Australia - Technical paper
- The Environment and Food Quality - Technical paper
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