Australian Tree Crop Map now featuring truffles!

Feb. 15, 2023 | 5 Min read
The Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) with support from AgriFutures Australia and Truffle Producers Western Australia Inc have engaged the University of New England’s Applied Agriculture Remote Sensing Centre (AARSC) to map the locations and extent of all truffières across Australia.

The Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) with support from AgriFutures Australia and Truffle Producers Western Australia Inc have engaged the University of New England’s Applied Agriculture Remote Sensing Centre (AARSC) to map the locations and extent of all truffières across Australia.

This builds on the success of the ‘Multi-scale Monitoring Tools for Managing Australian Tree Crops, Industry meets Innovation’ project. One of the major outputs of the project included the Australian Tree Crop Map, the first national map of avocado, banana, citrus, macadamia, mango and olive crops greater than one hectare (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Australian Tree Crop Map Dashboard (October 2022). 

This project will add truffle orchards to the Australian Tree Crop Map, creating the first national baseline of production extent (location and area) for the industry ,” said Craig Shephard (senior researcher, AARSC).

“The map will assist the industry to prepare for and respond to natural disaster events and biosecurity incursions, such as the shot-hole borer that currently threatens truffières in Western Australia.

“Knowing the location of crops provides essential information around value-chains, annual changes in production areas, traceability, transport, and market accessibility.”

The map is being developed from multiple sources of evidence including freely available imagery (satellite and airborne), ancillary and industry data, which together with field validation are interpreted to compile the map.

Importantly, Mr Shephard said the mapping adheres to National Standards for Land use Mapping, supported by the Australian Collaborative Land Use and Management Program (ACLUMP).

“Privacy concerns are acknowledged and respected as no personal or commercial information is collected as part of the mapping process nor contained within the map itself.”

Mapping is already completed for Tasmania and Western Australia (including 293 hectares in Manjimup LGA alone). Updates elsewhere (NSW and Victoria) are now in progress, with the national baseline map due to be finalised in May 2023.

The success of the mapping is a direct result of collaboration from growers and stakeholders contributing via two location-based tools both available at www.une.edu.au/webapps:

• Industry Engagement Web App (best for desktop)

• Australian Tree Crop Map (ATCM) Survey (best for mobile) (Figure 2)

Figure 2: Australian Tree Crop Map Survey (launch by scanning the QR code). 

Stakeholders are encouraged to contribute by viewing the draft map and adding their feedback, which is then interpreted by the mapping team. Mr Shephard said this engagement is essential for accurately mapping new truffières (which are not visible in satellite imagery due to the currency (date) of image acquisition).

The short survey is completed in four easy steps:

1. Launch the ATCM survey by scanning the QR code (it will open in any browser, on any device)

2. Add the location of the tree crop by clicking on the map, and

• - Select the crosshair button to quickly zoom to your location, or search for an address

• - Zoom and pan the map then click on the map to place a marker (blue pin) on the orchard

• - Confirm the location by selecting either the ✓ button or the back arrow (depending on the device) to continue the survey

3. Optionally include an additional comment and/or photo

4. Click submit to complete the survey.

The mapping team at AARSC will then interpret the survey information which informs the map.

“We developed the survey as a simple location-based tool to enable contribution from industry and stakeholders,” Mr Shephard said.

“To date we have received over 4000 survey responses! It’s invaluable to building an accurate map and essential for mapping new plantings which cannot be mapped with satellite imagery alone.”

This project has been funded by the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), AgriFutures Australia and Truffle Producers Western Australia. Contact: Craig Shephard, AARSC, University of New England: E-mail: cshepha2@une.edu.au

Categories Specialty tree crops

Read also

View all

Carbon offset funding for CQ Pongamia project

Portable test kit for native fruit

Small, sweet and high in Vitamin C — Australian growers are backing the jujube