Regional Ecosystem Mapping – an important tool in our work

One of the most important tools Ecosure uses to assess flora is the Regional Ecosystem Description Database (REDD). It was developed by the Queensland Herbarium and we use it almost every day in the office and in the field. A regional ecosystem (RE) is a vegetation community that is associated with a particular combination of geology, landform and soil in a Queensland bioregion (Sattler and Williams 1999, Vegetation Management Act 1999). Each RE has a unique three-part code based on bioregion, land zone and vegetation type (e.g. 12.11.3). The Queensland Herbarium has developed a methodology to map the REs across Queensland.

Ecosure uses RE codes and the Queensland RE mapping to help give us an idea of the plant species likely to be on a site prior to us heading out in the field. Once we are out in the field, we complete vegetation surveys to ground truth the RE type and compare against the RE mapping. RE codes and mapping can also be used to provide an indication of the type of fauna habitat and fauna species that may be at a site, what plant species should be included for ecological restoration works and as a guide to provide recommendations for fauna and flora management.

The Queensland Herbarium has recently released significant updates and new mapping layers in April 2019 (REDD version 11.1). This has allowed Ecosure to improve our pre-survey knowledge and geospatial mapping. The descriptive information of REs has also been updated as well as information including taxonomic name updates, species listing based on the Nature Conservation Regulation 2006 and updates to broad vegetation groups.

The public and industry can get free access to the REDD and RE mapping via the Queensland Government website (https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/plants-animals/plants/ecosystems/about). Comprehensive regional ecosystem reports for defined properties, central coordinates, tenures or land parcels are also available (https://apps.des.qld.gov.au/report-request/environment/).

For more information please contact Dr Natalie Toon, Senior Environmental Scientist, at ntoon@ecosure.com.au