Abstract: Ground cover is the vegetation, biological crusts and stones in contact with the soil surface. It has a significant impact on the amount of soil redistributed or lost through wind and water erosion, on the biomass which contributes to soil carbon levels and the ability of vegetation to respond to rain after drought. Ground cover can be monitored directly through remote sensing. A workshop was held in Canberra (23–24 November 2009) to reach consensus on a nationally coordinated approach to ground cover mapping. Different approaches were presented for estimating ground cover using remote sensing. The issues surrounding validation of such remotely sensed products were also discussed. Discussions were guided by the user specifications for this product. A first step in this coordinated approach was the establishment of four working groups from the workshop participants. The working groups are: 1 fractional cover mapping operational for the nation—using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) at 500-metre spatial resolution as a 16-day composite 2 upscaling—from field data to high/medium resolution, small extent imagery to low resolution, large area imagery 3 field data collection—for validation of fractional cover derived from remote sensing 4 monitoring land management practices with remote sensing. Collectively, the four working groups will advise on the delivery of a validated fractional cover product for Australia. This product will be used: • to monitor ground cover levels • as a key input to wind and water erosion modelling to predict rates of soil loss • to monitor the impact of different management practices on ground cover levels and soil erosion risk. The method of Guerschman et al. (2009) has been selected as the approach to implement nationally, with initial focus on making this MODIS-based fractional cover product operational. Essential to the use of this product is the accuracy of its ground cover estimates. The collection of field measurements and the use of upscaling techniques will underpin the validation and improvement of this fractional cover product. The working groups documented the workshop discussion and have recommended a way forward. The effort required to implement the suggested tasks has been estimated and will be used to inform the development of a project plan. Progress on the project is available on the Caring for our Country website: http://www.nrm.gov.au/publications/factsheets/ground-coverfactsheet.html
Stewart, JB., Rickards, JE., Bordas, VM., Randall, LA., Thackway, RM., 2011, Ground cover monitoring for Australia – establishing a nationally coordinated approach to ground cover mapping, Conference Proceedings, viewed 22 April 2019, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=5536.