The Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS) is a scientific monitoring program undertaken by the Department of Environment and Science’s Remote Sensing Centre in partnership with the Queensland Herbarium, Department of Resources and the Joint Remote Sensing Research Program.
Satellite imagery and field data are used to monitor and report annual change in woody vegetation in Queensland in support of the Vegetation Management Act 1999 and to provide data and reporting to inform a range of environment, natural resource and disaster management applications. This includes protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef, State of Environment reporting, biodiversity conservation, and fire management and planning.
Since the 1990’s and until recently, the program has been monitoring woody vegetation loss due to land clearing in Queensland applying a methodology which uses Landsat satellite imagery and a combination of automated image classification, desktop analysis and field methods .
The program is committed to continuous improvement and scientific development, taking advantage of new computing, data science, satellite and field technologies as they become available. The program has also facilitated development of other state-wide land cover change monitoring programs in the Remote Sensing Centre, including for ground cover and fire scars.
A significant program of scientific enhancements aimed at providing a more comprehensive monitoring and reporting framework for the state, is currently in progress. This includes:
- The development of a new and robust methodology to produce a detailed map of Queensland’s woody vegetation, as a baseline for ongoing monitoring and reporting.
- Transitioning from medium-resolution Landsat to higher-resolution Sentinel-2 satellite imagery for monitoring and reporting woody vegetation clearing.
- The development of new approaches for monitoring and mapping woody vegetation regrowth using the extensive Landsat archive and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery.
- The development of a vegetation condition assessment and mapping framework, to map and monitor the BioCondition of Queensland’s terrestrial ecosystems.
The program of enhancements are planned to be completed in 2021.