Dataset: Indicators of Catchment Condition in the Intensive Land Use Zone of Australia – Protected areas



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

Land protected from development through land-use zoning is relatively free
from human activities that lead to habitat destruction and species decline.
Land-use zoning is a planning tool. In general protected lands are not subject
to land-use changes at the catchment scale. Wetlands or streams connected
hydrologically to other catchments will be vulnerable to upstream/catchment

The Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database (CAPAD) at Environment
Australia has protected areas mapped at the 1:250K scale. The dataset has been
compiled from cadastre data which is mapped at finer scales than 1:250K and is
considered to have excellent spatial precision. Data reliability is high.

The indicator is not a measure of pristine condition, as many protected areas
have different zonings in the past and been subject to activities which have
led to habitat decline. There are also different classes of protection and
different sizes of area protected, some of which may be too small to conserve
biodiversity. However, further decline is prevented through their current
protected status, and in this sense % area of protected land indicates future
viability for those habitats represented within protected areas. Protected
areas will change through time.

Nature conservation areas such as national parks provide relatively stable
systems where biota and landscapes are protected from many forms of
disturbance. In higher rainfall areas with steeper slopes a protected area in
the headwaters of a catchment may convey substantial benefits, particularly to
downstream waterways and to neighbouring areas as refuge for wildlife. Where
the protected areas are in the lower reaches of catchments, the value of
protected areas for nature conservation are still high but the benefit to
water coming from further up the catchment will be less. In drier, flatter
catchments protected areas will probably not contribute substantially to the
condition of surrounding areas in the catchment. For example, a salt lake
national park will have little beneficial effect on the surrounding lands. In
these cases the aggregation of small area catchments in relatively good
condition to larger AWRC basins is misleading because the benefits are
spatially restricted. The overall picture as shown by the 500 and 5A5 maps is
dominated by the lowest category.

The AWRC map gives a quite misleading picture, missing large areas that are
not protected and giving a better than average picture for much of S and the
NT. Major areas with relatively good protection are: southwestern Tasmania,
East Gippsland and southern New South Wales, the Blue Mountains, parts of the
Border Ranges and the New England Plateau, the Alligator Rivers region (NT),
parts of Victoria River Downs, Purnululu, and areas north and west of Ceduna
(SA). In the relatively poorest class are central and northern parts of the
Murray-Darling Basin, the Burnett, Burdekin and Mitchell catchments (Qld), the
Daly and Fitzmaurice River catchments (NT), most catchments in WA, and
catchments of the Mount Lofty Ranges (SA).

Data: Weeds of National Significance ( NLWR / Thorn and Lynch, 2000, The
determination of weeds of national significance, 1:12.5m and 1:50m)

Data are available as:

See [further metadata](
__06021axx.xml) for more detail.

General Information