Australia: During the past decade, South Australia Government has cracked down on unauthorised native vegetation clearances with the help of satellite imagery. Only about 25 per cent of native vegetation is left in the agricultural districts of South Australia. And the need to retain, protect and manage it has prompted government agencies and bodies, such as the Native Vegetation Council, to look at alternatives to encourage the protection of these remnants, says Stock Journal report.
According to the report, this includes an increased use of technology, such as satellite imagery, to monitor the quantity and quality of native vegetation left in South Australia.
There have been three successful criminal prosecutions this year assisted by satellite imagery, resulting in fines of more than USD 300,000 and 14 cases involving civil action in the Environment Resources and Development Court to make good the clearance, where the landowners have to rehabilitate the area affected.
The State Government started using satellite technology in 2001, mapping vegetation on Kangaroo Island as part of a trial where images within the same area were compared to find changes in native vegetation cover.
The trial was so successful that a pilot programme was subsequently conducted in the South East, where many unauthorised clearances were also detected, some ending in prosecutions. The program was then made statewide in 2004, monitoring South Australia’s agricultural areas using the Landsat satellite series.
Source: Stock Journal