Dataset: Indicators of Catchment Condition in the Intensive Land Use Zone of Australia – Intensive agricultural area


It should be noted that this data is now somwhat dated!

Areas of intensive agriculture and production forestry are typically areas
where a monoculture land-use has replaced a more biologically diverse system.
The loss of biodiversity through agriculture is not something that can be
easily reversed through planning and management. Remaining areas of native
habitat are sensitive to catchment land-use changes.

An intensive agricultural land-use coverage was obtained from the NLWR (2000)
National Land-Use map (1:1M). Intensive agriculture was mapped as all areas
with cropping or modified pasture systems.

The scale of the land-use map is relatively coarse and the data has been
compiled from SL land-use data mapped to grid cells based on satellite
imagery interpretation. Reliability is variable. Intensive agriculture and
plantation forestry cause a dramatic reduction in biodiversity. By definition,
the ecological integrity of an area where a monoculture dominants, is poor;
the indicator is unequivocal. Less intensive agriculture also undermines
biodiversity, but arguably not to the extent found in cropping and improved
pasture systems.

The indicator has not been validated against biotic function, but is an
indicator that is easily understood by users. Whilst a substantial impact of
intensive agriculture is on biotic condition it can also impact on waterways
(water extraction and chemical transfer), and on soil structure (the ability
of the soil to avoid hard packing or erosion). Intensive agriculture coincides
with good soils on gently sloping or flat land, in higher rainfall areas, or
where water is available for irrigation.

The 500 km2 and 5A5 km scale maps give a well recognisable expression of the
intensive agriculture areas of Australia. Major impacts on catchment condition
are well expressed in the AWRC map. Impact on catchment condition are seen for
parts of central and southern Queensland, the western slopes and plains of New
South Wales, throughout most of southern and south-eastern South Australia,
central and northern Tasmania, most of Victoria and south-western Western
Australia.Data are available as:

See [further metadata](
__06721axx.xml) for more detail.

General Information