Mapping tool for reveg planning

June 8, 2018

A new interactive mapping tool to help plan revegetation projects has been put through its paces on the Atherton Tablelands.

The tool – which makes spatial mapping data available to the public on everything from climate refuges for animal species to ideal carbon sequestration areas – draws on scientific and geographic information from government departments, universities and locals.

It is currently in the production and testing phase. Designed by Terrain NRM through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and in partnership with the Central Queensland University, the mapping tool focuses on the southern Atherton Tablelands. But the plan is to expand it to the whole of the Wet Tropics.

“Our workshop provided community groups, local council and other key partners for the Tablelands the chance to try out this new decision support tool,’’ Terrain NRM Strategy Manager Penny Scott said.

“Feedback was very constructive. It also sparked a lot of lively debate. We can now work on fine-tuning it before taking it to other communities in the Wet Tropics.

“This interactive tool will then be made available to the public through the Wet Tropics Plan for People and Country.”

Ten community group members and representatives from state and local government agencies were at the recent workshop.

Barb Lanskey from Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands (TREAT) said the interactive mapping tool would be useful to support and validate decisions made by groups undertaking revegetation projects.

Users can select mapping layer subjects ranging from tree kangaroo or cassowary habitat areas to ideal areas for climate change refuges or carbon sequestration projects.

Ms Scott said it would help with a big question for anyone involved in revegetation - where in the landscape is the best place to revegetate to achieve the highest biodiversity results?

“With fewer resources and less funding for restoration work, and with an almost endless number of sites that would benefit from revegetation, this tool will help community groups, landholders, revegetation practitioners and investors to be confident they are making good decisions and working in areas that will deliver a great return for biodiversity,’’ she said.

“And if the carbon market takes off in the Wet Tropics, this tool can help to make sure any carbon investment also provides the greatest benefit for our unique biodiversity.”