4609.0.55.003 - Land Account: Queensland, Experimental Estimates, 2011 - 2016 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/06/2017   
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FEATURE ARTICLE: ACCOUNTING FOR LAND CHANGES IN THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

INTRODUCTION

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a globally significant area located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia. It extends for more than 2,300 kilometres along the north-eastern coast of Australia off the State of Queensland. It is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, and is listed on the register of World Heritage sites. Threats to the condition or health of the reef include climate change, declining water quality (from catchment run off) and the loss of coastal habitats (from coastal development and fishing impacts). Many of these threats are the result of regional or global actions, beyond the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The GBR marine ecosystem is closely linked with the 28 terrestrial river catchments which drain into the sea in the area. These catchments cover over 38 million hectares, and have a population of over one million people. The development of Land Accounts provides a platform for the measurement of land. Accounting for land, particularly land cover, will be a common entry point for compilers of ecosystem accounts, due to the focus of ecosystem accounting on terrestrial ecosystems. Land cover provides a link to the production of ecosystem services. Land use and land tenure provide links to the use of ecosystem services, identifying benefits and beneficiaries of ecosystem services. Integrating spatial data about land cover extent and condition means that ecosystem characteristics can be linked to economic agents (or units), which are aggregated to industries.

This Feature Article presents data on land use and land cover change in both physical and monetary terms for the GBR region and will provide a foundation for the ABS Experimental Environmental-Economic Accounts for the Great Barrier Reef due for release in August 2017. For the purpose of this publication, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region is defined by the following Natural Resource Management Regions (NRMRs): Burnett Mary, Cape York, Fitzroy, Burdekin, Mackay Whitsunday and Wet Tropics. Users should note that the extent of the GBR region has been created using whole NRMR boundaries to maintain the integrity and consistency of the ABS Statistical Geography - ASGS. Note the inclusion of the entire Cape York NRMR, which is atypical in GBR-related publications, as Cape York's westward-draining basins do not drain directly into the Reef marine ecosystem. The Cape York NRMR, however, has a very small population and low economic activity relative to other GBR NRMRs, which hampers the availability and quality of economic and social data sources, and impacts on detail preservation due to confidentiality requirements. Other ABS and non-ABS publications have varied from this definition by including only part of the Cape York NRMR.

Please see Table 9 in the Downloads tab for the GBR region data.

REFERENCE MAP - GREAT BARRIER REEF REGION, QUEENSLAND
Map: Reference map of Natural Resource Management Regions in the Great Barrier Reef region, including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park boundary
Source: Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) 2016 - Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Boundary - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) Commonwealth of Australia, 2017


MAIN FINDINGS

Land use
  • Livestock Grazing accounted for just over two-thirds (or 67%) of all land area in the GBR region in both 2011 and 2016. This land use also reported the largest increase in land area over the accounting period, increasing from 32.2 million hectares in 2011 to 32.4 million hectares in 2016. This change included 374,183 hectares in additions and 207,457 hectares in reductions. This increase was largely due to the transfer of 100,213 hectares from 'Vacant Residential' and 86,333 hectares from 'Agriculture Cropping - Other', which was countered by a loss of 66,113 hectares to 'Extractive Industries'.
  • 'Residential' land use was the biggest contributor to unimproved land value within the GBR region, accounting for more than one half of the total land value in the GBR region (58% or $76.4 billion in 2016). The unimproved value of 'Residential' land reported a net increase of 14% between 2011 and 2016, from $66.8 billion to $76.4 billion respectively. This was largely due to $6.4 billion in revaluations, as well as $4.5 billion in additions and $1.3 billion in reductions.
  • 'Forestry - Commercial Timber Production' reported the largest decrease in land area (38% or 37,741 hectares) from 99,941 hectares in 2011 to 62,200 hectares in 2016. This consisted of 7,538 hectares in additions and 45,279 hectares in reductions. This decrease was largely due to a reclassification of 33,546 hectares to 'Livestock Grazing'. Note that this is a reclassification of primary land use and does not necessarily indicate a decline in forestry.

Summary of land use by area (GBR region) - 30 June 2011 to 30 June 2016

Land use description
Opening stock
(30 June 2011)
Closing stock
(30 June 2016)
Total net change
Percent change
Hectares
Hectares
Hectares
%

Residential
103 885
112 564
8 679
8.4
Commercial
151 143
150 325
-818
-0.5
Industrial
49 434
51 534
2 099
4.2
Extractive Industries
874 307
943 891
69 584
8.0
Infrastructure, Utilities and Community Services
2 408
2 340
-68
-2.8
Agriculture Cropping - Sugar Cane
679 372
651 596
-27 776
-4.1
Agriculture Cropping - Other
1 207 311
1 123 437
-83 874
-6.9
Livestock Grazing
32 245 325
32 412 051
166 726
0.5
Livestock - Special Purpose Structures
42 589
34 939
-7 600
-18.0
Horticulture - Orchards
55 098
59 426
4 328
7.9
Horticulture - Other
36 745
36 921
176
0.5
Horticulture - Special Purpose Structural Improvements
9 749
7 832
-1 917
-19.7
Forestry - Commercial Timber Production
99 941
62 200
-37 741
-37.8
Vacant Residential
998 893
904 001
-94 892
-9.5
Unallocated (a)
205 855
209 008
3 153
1.5
Not Classified (b)
11 293 803
11 293 803
-
-
GBR region Total
48 055 868
48 055 868
-
-

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells).
Any discrepancies between totals and sums of components in this publication are due to rounding.
(a) This includes land uses that could not be allocated to AVPCC.
(b) No land use information available.

Summary of land use by land value (GBR region) - 30 June 2011 to 30 June 2016

Land use description
Opening stock
(30 June 2011)
Closing stock
(30 June 2016)
Total net change
Percent change
$'000
$'000
$'000
%

Residential
66 819 546
76 420 602
9 601 055
14.4
Commercial
5 182 819
5 220 987
38 169
0.7
Industrial
3 274 549
3 845 013
570 465
17.4
Extractive Industries
240 064
237 448
-2 616
-1.1
Infrastructure, Utilities and Community Services
274 490
306 568
32 077
11.7
Agriculture Cropping - Sugar Cane
1 469 716
1 608 845
139 130
9.5
Agriculture Cropping - Other
1 083 203
910 245
-172 958
-16.0
Livestock Grazing
9 172 851
7 549 056
-1 623 795
-17.7
Livestock - Special Purpose Structures
75 843
75 482
-361
-0.5
Horticulture - Orchards
145 275
194 054
48 779
33.6
Horticulture - Other
108 369
106 967
-1 401
-1.3
Horticulture - Special Purpose Structural Improvements
20 219
16 660
-3 559
-17.6
Forestry - Commercial Timber Production
70 324
50 599
-19 725
-28.0
Vacant Residential
34 669 739
34 139 624
-530 115
-1.5
Unallocated (a)
425 476
389 689
-35 787
-8.4
Not Classified (b)
-
-
-
-
GBR region Total
123 032 485
131 071 840
8 039 355
6.5

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells).
Any discrepancies between totals and sums of components in this publication are due to rounding.
(a) This includes land uses that could not be allocated to AVPCC.
(b) No land use information available.

Land cover
  • The largest net change in broad land cover was 'Grasslands' with an increase from 11.5 million hectares to 12.1 million hectares (an increase of 611,424 hectares) between 2010-2011 to 2014-15. This included 4.3 million hectares of additions and 3.7 million hectares of reductions. The increase in 'Grasslands' was largely from a loss in 'Trees' (472,634 hectares) and 'Rainfed Lands' (139,720 hectares).
  • The broad land cover 'Trees' covered around two-thirds of the GBR region in both 2010-2011 and 2014-2015. Over the accounting period 'Trees' decreased by 1.2% (or 379,089 hectares) from 31.7 million hectares to 31.3 million hectares, with 6.6 million hectares of additions and 7.0 million hectares of reductions. The decrease in 'Trees' was largely to 'Grasslands' (472,634 hectares).
  • 'Woody Shrubs' experienced the greatest percentage change of all broad land cover classes with an 175% increase between 2010-2011 to 2014-2015 from 53,469 hectares to 147,133 hectares. The increase in 'Woody Shrubs' was largely due to changes from 'Grasslands' (48,652 hectares) and 'Trees' (44,600 hectares).
  • At a detailed level, 'Open Forest' and 'Woodland' covered the largest areas, with 13.4 million and 10.7 million hectares in 2010-2011 and 11.1 million and 12.1 million hectares in 2014-15 respectively. 'Open Forest' also had the largest net change of all land cover classes with a decrease of 2.3 million hectares (or 17%).

Summary of broad land cover by area (GBR region) - 2010-2011 to 2014-2015

Land cover description
Opening stock
(2010-2011)
Closing stock
(2014-2015)
Total net change
Percent change
Hectares
Hectares
Hectares
%

Urban Areas & Extraction Sites (a)
145 833
145 883
-
-
Waterbodies
153 388
150 352
-3 037
-2.0
Wetlands
458 519
373 693
-84 825
-18.5
Irrigated Lands
469 087
443 327
-25 764
-5.5
Rainfed Lands
3 417 547
3 205 173
-212 375
-6.2
Grasslands
11 451 811
12 063 235
611 428
5.3
Woody Shrubs
53 469
147 133
93 664
175.2
Trees
31 653 427
31 274 338
-379 089
-1.2
No Data
251 306
251 306
-
-
GBR region Total
48 054 375
48 054 375
-
-

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells).
Any discrepancies between totals and sums of components in this publication are due to rounding.
(a) Urban Areas & Extraction Sites is a static land cover type. These classes show no changes over time.