Northern Territory University
The Arafura Swamp is a large irregular inland wetland situated
in Arnhem Land, Australia. It is unique, as there are no other
wetlands listed in the same aggregation. It is a near-pristine Top
End floodplain, and the largest wooded swamp in the Northern
Territory and possibly Australia (ANCA, 1996).
The site is of cultural significance to Aboriginal people in the
area, particularly the Ramingining community. There are potential
threats to the swamp in the form of the weed Mimosa pigra and too
frequent wildfires (ANCA, 1996).
The project is an evaluation of different data sets in mapping
the swamp's geomorphology. Through mapping the geomorphology, base
maps can be created which when incorporated with vegetation and
other themes, may provide a basis for natural resource management
in the study area. The data sets examined are Landstat Thematic
Mapper, SPOT Multi spectral and air photos at 1:50 000 scale. The
scale-dependency of natural features is a crucial element in
assessment of the usefulness of the data sets.
Water-bird site data collected by Parks & Wildlife of the NT
will be overlaid with the geomorphology map, to determine the
relationship between these two elements. It also demonstrates one
of the many uses for geomorphological data. This will be
incorporated in a GIS database that will include information on
drainage and other morphological components. While in the field,
observations on M.pigra will be recorded to be added into the GIS
database. This database will have the potential to enable a user to
carry out modeling procedures, and identify areas within the swamp
that may need attention.
Fieldwork is currently being carried out with Parks and
Wildlife. Broadscale surveying will be conducted from a light
aircraft, whereas most of the groundtruthing will be conducted on
The project was facilitated by the Northern Land Council, and
fieldwork is being carried out with Parks and Wildlife NT.
Dr Greg Hill
Dr Chris Devonport