Understanding the Gradual Ecosystem Changes in Native Pastures of the Arid and Semi-arid Rangelands of the Northern Territory
The arid and semi-arid rangelands of the NT are depicted by drought and episodic rainfall events. Its vegetation has evolved to respond to these rainfall events. Rangeland cattle grazing as the dominant land use relies on this rainfall response and the persistence of the vegetation through long periods of drought. Careful management of such systems is vital for a sustainable and profitable industry. This research aims to understand the changes to the vegetation through space, its spatial distribution, and time, from one rainfall event to another. It is the ability to distinguish between the natural drivers of the system such as climatic variables of rain, drought and natural decay of the vegetation and the introduced drivers including removal and trampling of vegetation from cattle grazing that will allow a better understanding and management of this natural resource. Remote sensing utilises ‘snapshots’ of the earth from orbiting satellites. The landsat series of satellites provides the longest system of imaging the earth's surface (Kennedy etal, 2014). With ready access to this imagery and derived vegetation cover products through the JRSRP, a number of variables can be used to test this theory of depicting or extracting the impact of human induced management upon the vegetation from the natural drivers within the system.