What is being monitored?
Anticipated Environmental Result:
- Retained or increased land area in indigenous vegetation, particularly in the riparian margins.
- To biennially survey, using aerial photography, the indigenous vegetation cover throughout the Lakes A Zone, particularly the riparian margins.
Purpose of monitoring
This indicator monitors changes to indigenous vegetation cover in the riparian margins of the Lakes A Zone. The riparian margin is important for its habitat and is a buffer between land and waterbody, helping water quality.
2012 Aerial photography analysis of indigenous vegetation and land use in the Lakes A Zone
Monitoring of the riparian areas in the Lakes A Zone by aerial photography shows that the anticipated environmental result has been achieved. In general there was not much change to most indigenous vegetation (98.8%) within this area, with a net increase of 4.8 ha.
Where there was change it was mostly due to a change in the structural class of the vegetation, for example natural succession of plants, lake level rise and closure of the canopy (more mature areas that develop once a canopy is closed). Table 1 shows the extent of change to vegetation in the riparian areas of the Lakes A Zone.
The total increase to indigenous vegetation in the riparian area (eg restoration, riparian edge expansion) was 12.2 ha. The loss or reduction (eg change from indigenous to exotic vegetation or clearance) was 7.4 ha. The net result was an increase of 4.8 ha. (Note: analysis was done at a scale of 1:10,000. Some changes may not be detectable at this scale).
Table 1: Summary of change in extent of indigenous vegetation cover within the riparian zone of the Lakes A Zone, between 2006 and 2011.
Further analysis would need to be done to examine where the losses have occurred, and to determine whether they are natural, legal/illegal, or otherwise. The location and cause of this loss must be examined as the intention of the rules of the Lakes A Zone are to retain all indigenous vegetation in riparian areas.
An excerpt from the report says:
"Results from the analysis show that indigenous vegetation in the Lakes A Zone, particularly within riparian margins, is being maintained, with a very small increase. In summary, between 2006 and 2011:
- There was no net loss of indigenous vegetation in the riparian margins, and there appears to have been a small increase;
- Indigenous vegetation increased in extent by 12.2 ha, but there is also evidence of a loss of 7.4 ha."