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Mapping the condition of River Red gum and Black Box stands in The Living Murray icon sites

Stand Condition Report 2009

Here we report on a model built to predict stand condition of forests and woodlands across The Living Murray Icon Sites in 2009. This is the first of three years (2009-2011) of modelling required to build a tool that will estimate stand condition of forests and woodlands across the Icon Sites from a combination of ground surveys and satellite imagery. The 2009 Stand Condition Model was also used to backcast stand condition of the Icon Sites in 2003 and 2008 from historical Landsat imagery.

Overall, 79% of the area covered by River Red Gum, Black Box and mixed box communities in The Living Murray Icon Sites was in a stressed condition in 2009. This includes 72% of River Red Gum forests and woodlands; and 92% of Black Box woodlands.

The results of the 2009 Stand Condition Model suggest that 1) water availability (rainfall and flooding) across The Living Murray Icon Sites remains insufficient to maintain the majority of forests and woodlands in good condition, and 2) environmental watering, although limited in coverage, is an effective way to mitigate and improve the condition of these important forests and woodlands.