Identifying erosion hazard hot spots helps focus field activities: remote monitoring of fractional ground cover in Western Australia’s grainbelt

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Conference Title

2023 Soil Science Australia Annual Conference

Place of Publication



erosion, remote monitoring, grainbelt, soil sustainability


Soil Science


The proportion and perenniality of vegetative groundcover significantly affects biodiversity and ecosystem services of arable land. Insufficient groundcover is the dominant factor contributing to wind erosion. In Western Australia, the amount of extant groundcover is rated to assess wind erosion hazard according to national standards, with < 30 % cover being extreme hazard, < 50% cover being erodible, and ≥ 50% cover being regarded as safe.

This study used fractional groundcover products from Landsat satellite imagery to identify landscapes most at risk in the Western Australian grainbelt. Imagery was processed with custom python scripts to calculate the proportion of arable land in each groundcover class for every season over 11 years. Individual seasons were compared with the preceding 10-year seasonal median to evaluate relative hazard.