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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 impacts.

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:

  • continental maps at 5km (0.05 deg) cell resolution for the ILZ;
  • spatial averages over CRES defined catchments (CRES, 2000) in the ILZ;
  • spatial averages over the AWRC river basins in the ILZ.

See further metadata for more detail.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Title Indicators of Catchment Condition in the Intensive Land Use Zone of Australia – Protected areas
Type Dataset
Language English
Licence notspecified
Update Frequency Not specified
Landing Page http://data.gov.au/dataset/54c1835a-48cd-494d-b827-6fe4b82ef0f3
Date Published 2013-05-12
Date Updated 2015-04-08
Contact Point
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
02 6272 3933
Temporal Coverage 1 January 1990 to 30 May 2001
Geospatial Coverage Australia
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Data Portal data.gov.au
Publisher/Agency Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
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