Shrublands and grasslands in western NSW show dramatic growth after rainfall events and experience severe reductions in vegetation cover during droughts. Cover is also reduced by grazing from stock (e.g., sheep), feral animals (e.g., goats) and native animals (e.g., kangaroos).

Using fenced animal enclosures previously established at the Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station, it’ll be possible to examine the effects of drought and grazing on the vegetation dynamics separately.

The project ‘Separating the Effects of Drought and Grazing on Arid Zone Vegetation’ will require analysing 30 years of Landsat satellite data. This data will be processed using an established algorithm that derives vegetation cover at 30m resolution for green and dead vegetation fractions. The research will use data produced by the Joint Remote Sensing Research Program, made available through TERN AusCover. For examples of the satellite imagery time series, view the VegMachine.


This project aims to compare the time-series of satellite measured vegetation cover between grazed and non-grazed areas in shrublands and grasslands at Fowlers Gap. It also seeks to separate the effects of drought and grazing on the vegetation cover dynamics. During this project, it may also be possible to conduct field measurements to validate the satellite products.

Get involved

To learn more about this project, contact Dr Adrian Fisher or Prof. Graciela Metternicht.
T: +61 2 9385 3393

T: +61 2 9385 5761