Land use data in Queensland is used for a broad range of applications such as:

  • Agricultural Land Audit—for the identification of current areas of agricultural production
  • Statutory Regional Planning—guide land use planning and development in Queensland; in particular:
    • The Regional Planning Interests Act—to identify Priority Agricultural Area
    • Strategic Cropping Lands and to support development applications under the Act.
  • Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Protection Plan—identifying sources of nutrients and sediments in reef catchments. Land use maps are a key data set for the Paddock to Reef Monitoring Program
  • identifying the extent of cane growing and grazing areas included as part of the reef protection package’s best management practice framework
  • statutory and non-statutory planning—for example, defining the extent of urban footprints and rural living areas in the South East Queensland Regional Plan
  • South East Queensland Coastal Management plan—developing vulnerability maps of the aquatic Lyngbya cyanobacteria
  • development of irrigation estimates in groundwater irrigation areas
  • identification of priorities for investments and extension work across the state and federal government agencies and the regional natural resource management groups
  • biosecurity—identifying potential locations of Citrus Canker outbreaks; evaluating the risk of disease spreading across banana plantations in north Queensland
  • monitoring and evaluation of natural resource impacts following natural disasters, for example tropical cyclones Debbie, Marcia, Yasi and Ita.
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Queensland's land use currency by catchment.

Land use mapping over time

A consistent land use baseline map for Queensland was completed in 1999, on a catchment basis, with the state divided into 79 catchments.

Of these, 28 Great Barrier Reef catchments, covering 22% of the state, have been updated to 2009 in support of the Reef Protection Program and Reef Plan.

The land use mapping team in the Remote Sensing Centre (RSC) of the Department of Environment and Science (DES), in collaboration with staff from the Department of Resources, (South region), updated the land use mapping in the South East Queensland (SEQ) Natural Resource Management region to 2011 or later. Mapping were compiled at the catchment level, with the exception of the Brisbane catchment, which was divided into its sub-catchments (Brisbane River, Stanley River, Lockyer Creek and Bremer River) due to the size and diversity of land uses in the area. With the exception of the Maroochy and Noosa catchment (2011) and the Brisbane River sub-catchment (2013), all remaining catchments in SEQ were updated to 2012.

Further west in the Murray–Darling Basin, the Condamine natural resource management region was also updated to 2012, the Border Rivers–Maranoa Balonne natural resource management region updated to 2013, and the South West natural resource management region updated to 2015.

In far north Queensland, the Cape York and Torres Strait Islands Natural Resource Management regions were updated to 2013.

The Wet Tropics, Southern and Northern Gulf natural resource management regions were updated to 2015—including the mapping of banana plantations at commodity level.

The last remaining region of the original 1999 land use baseline map was updated, as the Desert Channels Natural Resource Management region was updated to 2016.

The Mackay-Whitsunday and Burdekin natural resource management regions were updated to 2016 including the revision of 1999 and 2009 mapping, and the Burnett Mary and Fitzroy natural resource management regions updated to 2017.

Land use versus land cover

The RSC provides maps of both land use and landcover.

Land use describes what the land is used for such as grazing, irrigated cropping, mining, residential or conservation. The land use mapping team in the RSC provides digital spatial data on land use.

Landcover describes the physical surface of the earth such as forest, pasture, water or urban. The Statewide Landcover and Trees Study provides spatial data on landcover, including the annualised loss of woody vegetation across Queensland, while the Queensland Ground Cover Monitoring Program provides spatial data for Queensland’s ground cover, including pasture, leaf litter and bare ground.