13 September 2013

CRCSI at the VIC Spatial Excellence Awards

CRCSI staff featured prominently in the 9th Victorian Spatial Excellence Awards last night.

Congratulations to Mal McCoy (CRCSI Board Director) who was announced as Victorian Spatial Professional of the Year and to Nathan Quadros (CRCSI Researcher), Young Spatial Professional of the Year.

Also congratulations to Kim Lowell (CRCSI Science Director 4.1) who as Project Leader, together with 43pl company member Spatial Vision, Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research and DIICCSRTE took out the Award for Sustainability & Environment: Carbon Farming Initiative for the “Savannah Burning Abatement Tool (SavBAT).”

In addition, CRCSI members were recognised including Colin Plumb of CR Kennedy winning the Service to the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Community Award; and the Vic Department of Environment and Primary Industry, which won as one of the participants in the eMap, project which took out the People and Community award.
This follows on from the Eureka Commercialisation of Innovation Prize awarded to former CRCSI company Scanalyse last week.

SavBAT Project Overview 
The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) is a voluntary Australian Government scheme that allows farmers and other land managers to earn carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the land. Participants can earn carbon credits by setting up a project under an approved CFI methodology, which sets out the ground rules for the activity.

The CFI savanna burning methodology is one such methodology involving the use of controlled fire management across savannahs in the fire prone tropical north of Australia. Controlled fire management reduces the area that is burnt each year and shifts the seasonality of burning from the late dry season to the early dry season. The shift from predominantly late dry season to early dry season fires results in fires burning at lower intensities, due to lower fuel loads. This in turn results in a reduction in the area burnt and in the amount of fuel consumed.

Consequently, there is a reduction in emissions released from fires. Participating in the CFI using this methodology requires spatial analysis of remotely sensed monthly fire scars for the project area both for the project year and for a ten year baseline. The primary input in the spatial analysis is a vegetation map for the project area, classified to the four vegetation classes currently eligible under this methodology. The outputs from this analysis must then be used in a series of complex calculations.

The Savanna Burning Abatement Tool (SavBAT) is a web tool which fully automates the spatial analysis and key calculations, substantially reducing the time and cost of applying this methodology. Prior to the development of SavBAT, calculating project abatements required a skilled GIS expert and the use of an associated multi page spreadsheet and weeks of work. Estimates based on existing projects indicate that SavBAT will reduce total project costs by as much as 10%. The key beneficiaries of this initiative include indigenous land owners and pastoralists, who previously had to grapple with complex specialist systems, or hire consultants to determine the carbon credit value of their fire management efforts

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