Kioloa GLTCS Pathfinder Site

NASA LANDSAT Pathfinder Project

The LANDSAT Pathfinder Project Operation was driven by science goals of land cover change detection, global carbon cycle and biogeochemistry, but also encompassed data management activities that form part of Earth Observing System/Data Information System version 0, IGBP DIS and international forest management programs.


The Kioloa GLCTS Pathfinder Site

Kioloa was one of four Australian Global Land Cover Pathfinder sites nominated. It is the only one which has been completed. Kioloa is situated in South Eastern New South Wales. It is the global type site for Eucalypt forest. This site was developed and made available by Prof Brian Lees and his students when he was at the School of Resources, Environment and Society at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia in 1997.  Corrections and additions are added as necessary.

The Pathfinder site includes the whole catchment of the Clyde River, adjacent coastal areas, the southern limit of the Sydney Basin, and two important wetlands - the Clyde River / Cullendulla Creek estuaries and St. Georges Basin. The area covers three main types of landform; a coastal lowland, a hill belt, and a mountain belt. The coastal plain is the most complex belt and consists of rolling and undulating country with restricted plains. The coast itself is characterised by long sandy bays interspersed by sections of rugged cliff. There are a great many estuarine lagoons formed by barrier beaches across the mouths of drowned river valleys. There are some limited areas of igneous rock intrusion but the area is largely sedimentary (Ordovician and Permian). The hill belt is made up of dissected forested hills on folded (Ordovician) sedimentary rocks. Altitudes rarely exceed 300m. The mountain belt consists of steep, rugged, dissected plateaux in (Permian) sedimentary rock. Rivers here flow in deep, narrow valleys with some steep cliffs. There are some limited areas of basalt.

The predominant vegetation of the area is sclerophyll open-forest within which 68 communities have been recognised. The other communities are treated as components in various community complexes. The riverine forests which contain a sclerophyll component and rain forest lack a particularly clear set of environmental conditions and constitute an intermediate category.

Broadly the sclerophyll forests can be considered in three categories. The coastal forests are distinguished by Eucalyptus gummifera on 'poorer' sites and E. maculata on more mesic situations. The upland forests are distinguished by E. fastigata and E. mullerana and occur above about 250m. Other community complexes of significance in the area are the dune sere, the estuarine communities, particularly those with mangroves and Allocasuarina glauca, a variety of freshwater and brackish swamps, and heath vegetation on the Permian sandstones in the north. The riverine forests are composed predominantly of eucalypts but frequently the rain forests behave as gallery forests and monospecific stands of Backhousia myrtifolia may occur on the banks of narrow streams.

Land use in the area ranges from active forestry operations, national parks, agriculture (particularly on the coastal plain) to urban. The towns of Ulladulla and Milton are in the central part of the dataset.

The Australian National University has its KIOLOA field station in the area and a smaller field station, The Edge, immediately adjacent to the western boundary of the area. The area is within easy driving distance of both Canberra and Sydney. There are a large number of papers and theses published on aspects of the area. It is an area of continuing research activity. The Pathfinder dataset includes a Digital Elevation Model, Geology, Land Systems, Multi-date Landsat TM, JERS OPS and SAR imagery and Various Climatic Data for the area. Contact Brian Lees, site PI, to obtain access to the image data. There is also now a CSIRO EOC site at Kioloa.

Detailed field data exists from surveys by Russell-Smith (1979), Davey (1989) and Van Neil (2003). The documentation file lx3030n.txt lists corrections to the original lx3030 file (derived from Davey's SMD30 dataset) made by Van Neil over 2000-2003.  Both are included in the documentation.  

Available Datasets


Document details

Last modified: 29 August, 2007
Author: Brian Lees

The Australian National University. Australian CRICOS Provider No. 00120C