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Expansion of landscape characterisation methods within the Hydrogeological Landscape Framework: application in the Australian Capital Territory

Cowood, AL, Moore, CL, Cracknell, MJ ORCID: 0000-0001-9843-8251, Young, J, Muller, R, Nicholson, AT, Wooldridge, AC, Jenkins, BR and Cook, W 2017 , 'Expansion of landscape characterisation methods within the Hydrogeological Landscape Framework: application in the Australian Capital Territory' , Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, vol. 64, no. 8 , pp. 1073-1084 , doi:

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The Hydrogeological Landscape (HGL) Framework is a landscape-characterisation tool that is used to discern areas of similar physical, hydrogeological, hydrological, chemical and biological properties, referred to as HGL Units. The HGL Framework facilitates prioritisation of natural-resource management investment by identifying current and potential hazards in the landscape. Within prioritised regions, on-ground management actions are tailored for specific Management Areas within individual HGL Units. The HGL Unit boundaries are determined through expert interpretation of spatial and field based datasets, such as climate, landform, geology, regolith, soil, stream network, groundwater flow systems, water quality and vegetation assemblages. The resulting HGL Units are validated by an interdisciplinary team using field assessment and biophysical testing. The use of the HGL Framework for new applications creates opportunities for refinement of the existing methodology and products for end users. This paper uses an application in the Australian Capital Territory as a case study to illustrate two enhanced techniques for the landscape characterisation component of the HGL Framework: use of an unsupervised statistical learning algorithm, Self-Organising Maps (SOM), to further validate HGL Units; and landform modelling to assist in delineation of Management Areas. The combined use of SOM and landform modelling techniques provides statistical support to the existing expert and field-based techniques, ensuring greater rigour and confidence in determination of landscape patterns. This creates a more refined HGL Framework landscape-characterisation tool, facilitating more precise hazard assessment and strategic natural-resource management by end users.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Cowood, AL and Moore, CL and Cracknell, MJ and Young, J and Muller, R and Nicholson, AT and Wooldridge, AC and Jenkins, BR and Cook, W
Keywords: Hydrogeological Landscapes Framework, self-organising maps, landscape characterisation, landform modelling, land management, expert system
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Earth Sciences
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0812-0099
DOI / ID Number:
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2016 Geological Society of Australia. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Australian Journal of Earth Sciences on 7 December 2016, available at:

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