Revealing Long Term Land Use and Land Cover Change in a Severely Disturbed Environment

Zhenyu Zhang 1, 2 +, Jim Peterson 1, Xuan Zhu 1 and Wendy Wright 3  
1 Centre for GIS, School of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia
2 Faculty of Engineering and Surveying, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland 4350, Australia
3 School of Applied Sciences and Engineering, Monash University, Churchill, Victoria 3842, Australia

Abstract. Land use and land cover change (LUCC) is one of the important drivers of environmental change on all spatial and temporal scales. 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. This study aims to reveal the long term land use and land cover changes (from 1939 to 2004) in the Strzelecki Ranges, Victoria, Australia by integrating remote sensing and geographical information system (GIS) and to provide quantitative analysis of LUCC information in the area. The land use and land cover is derived from 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. The EVC map provides a good ground truth not only for the 2004 imagery, but also is part of the reference for interpreting 1988, 1972, 1954 and 1939 orthoimages. The interpretation was carried out with  respect to the forest canopy patterns that appeared on the imagery, relationships with other land covers, and DEM derived attributes such as aspects and slope declivity. The results show that land use and land cover in this area changed substantially from 1939 to 2004. Large areas of cleared land and natural forest regrowth on previously cleared land were gradually converted to plantations. The area covered by cool temperate rainforest has remained relatively stable throughout the period. 

Keywords: land use and land cover, GIS, classification, environment, ecology. 

In: Wan, Y. et al. (eds) Proceeding of the 8th international symposium on spatial accuracy assessment in natural resources and environmental sciences, World Academic Union (Press).

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