Modelling land use and land cover change in the Strzelecki Ranges

Zhang, Z. and Peterson, J. and Zhu, X. and Wright, W. (2007) Modelling land use and land cover change in the Strzelecki Ranges. In: MODSIM07: International Congress on Modelling and Simulation: Land, Water and Environmental Management: Integrated Systems for Sustainability, 10-13 Dec 2007, Christchurch, New Zealand.

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Land use and land cover change (LUCC) has been
recognized as an important driver of environmental
change on all spatial and temporal scales (Turner et
al., 1994). LUCC contributes significantly to earth
atmosphere interactions, forest fragmentation, and
biodiversity loss. It has become one of the major
issues for environmental change monitoring and
natural resource management. In Australia,
modification of land cover since European settlement
has largely been due to land clearing and weed
invasion, as well as to some natural disturbances such
as bushfire. In the Strzelecki Ranges, located in south
eastern Victoria, the wide scale of land clearing,
subsequent agricultural abandonment and fires have
all resulted in severe landscape disturbance in the
Ranges. Land use and land cover have undergone
further significant changes with the establishment of
large scale plantations in the area over the last four
decades. However, details of land use and land cover
change and its influence on the rainforest in this area
is unknown.
The Strzelecki Ranges, along with the southern
uplands of the Otways, the Central Highlands, and
East Gippsland, are recognised as one of the four
major Victorian areas which support cool temperate
rainforest ecosystems. Cool temperate rainforest,
although now very restricted in its distribution, is of
major historical and ecological significance. Areas
bordering cool temperate rainforest in the Eastern
Strzeleckis comprise a mosaic of different land use
patterns and have histories which are affected by both
natural and human disturbances. Different land use
patterns have different influences on imbedded
remnant patches of cool temperate rainforest mainly
through edge effects. When the surrounding
landscape patterns change, the environmental
conditions (e.g. microclimate) produced along these
edges (the boundaries between surrounding forests
and the cool temperate forest) may be modified and
influences the interior cool temperate forest
(Murcia, 1995; Bannerman, 1998).
This study aims to model the long term land use and
land cover changes (from 1954 to 2004) in the
Strzelecki Ranges by integrating remote sensing and
geographical information system (GIS) and to
provide quantitative analysis of LUCC information
in the area. The reconstructed history of land use
and land cover is mainly based on historical aerial
photography with the support of Vicmap Elevation,
Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVCs) map and
stereo models established by using stereo pair of
aerial photographs. Available archived historical
aerial photographs, taken in 1954, 1972 and 1988,
were all scanned and converted to digital format for
digital photogrammetric processing. Scanned aerial
photos, together with digital colour aerial photos
taken in 2004 were used for classification to
identify different land covers.
The results show that land use and land cover in the
study area changed substantially from 1954 to 2004.
Large areas of cleared land and forest regrowth on
previously cleared land were gradually converted to
plantations. Wet forest cover kept increasing during
this period, especially from 1954 to 1988. The area
covered by cool temperate rainforest has remained
relatively stable throughout the period. Large scale
plantation, although not equivalent to native forest
as wildlife habitat, may improve environmental
balances (Lamb, 1998; Loyn, 2000; Cawsey and
Freudenberger, 2003; Kanowski et al., 2003;
Kanowski et al., 2005; MacHunter et al., 2006;
Koskela et al., 2007) and provide refuges for wet
forest and surrounded cool temperate rainforest
fauna, especially in areas of severe disturbance like
that of our study area.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information (displayed to public): Responsibility for the contents of these papers rests upon the authors and not on the Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand Inc.
Depositing User: Mr Zhenyu Zhang
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Surveying and Land Information
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2008 02:55
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:00
Uncontrolled Keywords: land cover change, GIS, rainforest, landscape dynamic
Fields of Research (FoR): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050104 Landscape Ecology

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