The former Soil Conservation Authority began an inventory of Victoria's lands in the 1950's, led by R.G Downes. He saw the need to include data on land characteristics and processes when planning for land use and land management. The Land Systems method was subsequently developed in conjunction with Frank Gibbons, Jim Rowan and Ken Rowe (amongst others) and they were prominent in its application. During resultant studies they identified the Land Systems and their land components as well as information on factors affecting production, susceptibility to processes of soil degradation, and land management.
The Land Systems method involves an ecological approach - integrating environmental features often mapped singularly e.g. rainfall, geology, topography, soils and indigenous vegetation. Patterns occur that are governed by climate, geology and landform, which interact over time to influence the distribution of soils and vegetation. A Land System is therefore a complex mapping unit that contains a pattern of land components each of which has little variation in climate, lithology (rock type), landform, soil and indigenous vegetation. Each land component can therefore be regarded as a unit of management for broad-scale uses such as dryland farming or forestry.
Land System surveys have generally resulted in maps being produced at 1:100 000 to 1:250 000 scale . Many of these published studies describe (but do not map) the individual components of each Land System. A consistent statewide coverage of Land Systems (at 1:250 000 scale) was developed by Jim Rowan (1990) and has subsequently been updated with new information.
A number of Land System survey reports will be made available on this site over time as downloadable reports.
Example of a Land System and it's five land components.