Investigating the distribution of Acacia longifolia ssp. sophorae in south-west Victoria using satellite remote sensing and GIS

Jennifer EmenyA, Gordon DuffB, Dianne SimmonsC and Anne WallisA

A School of Ecology and Environment, Deakin University, PO Box 423, Warrnambool, Victoria 3280, Australia.

B CRC for Tropical Savannas Management, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory 0909, Australia.

C School of Ecology and Environment, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia.


Mapping and analysis of the distribution of environmental weeds is an important component of strategic weed management. Such information is particularly important in managing 'native invaders', where invasion characteristics must be clearly understood prior to any management action being taken. This paper reports on an investigation of the current distribution of the native invader Acacia longifolia ssp. sophorae (Labill.) Court (coast wattle) in south-west Victoria, using remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Coast wattle was successfully mapped from Landsat ETM imagery using a supervised classification procedure, with 82% of coast wattle shown on the map accurately depicting coast wattle on the ground. An estimated 11 448 ha were classified as supporting coast wattle, representing 12% of native vegetation in the study area. A more detailed GIS analysis in the Lower Glenelg National Park revealed coast wattle has invaded a limited number of vegetation types, and is more prevalent close to roads and within management zones associated with disturbance. The current regional extent of the species means widespread control is unlikely; hence the immediate focus should be on preventing further spread into areas where it is currently absent. Landsat imagery also proved to be a successful tool for mapping large scale coast wattle distribution, and could be used in long-term monitoring of the species.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2006) 21 (1) 30-38.