Habitat condition data for Australia from expert elicitation
Collection description These data relate to a project that aimed to construct and test a method for habitat condition data capture across Australia using expert elicitation. The data derived from experts are in two forms: (1) habitat condition scores for specified areas at a specified date range, and; (2) habitat condition scores based on images (photographs) of ecosystems. The image based habitat condition data were collected to enable cross-calibration of contributed site assessment data. These data represent the start of a continent-wide library of ecological condition data suitable for training and validation of model-based approaches to habitat condition assessment. Methods – site assessments Experts recorded their assessment of habitat condition for areas within Australia using a data capture tool hosted by the Atlas of Living Australia. Experts mapped site/s with which they have deep familiarity, using polygons. The sites may be small or large, depending on the area over which a consistent condition score can be applied. For each site, experts provided a condition score between 0 and 1 (1=pristine; 0=natural habitat completely removed), the time period of their assessment, and (optionally) disturbances influencing the score. Methods – image assessments Experts recorded their assessment of images using a data capture tool hosted by the Atlas of Living Australia. The image assessment scores are intended to be used to calibrate the site assessment condition scores contributed by experts. Experts were asked to provide a condition score for a suite of images allocated to them based on the Major Vegetation Groups (MVG) and Hutchinson bioclimatic classifications that they nominated familiarity with during the project registration process. The calibration images characterised each ecosystem in several different condition states. Data products The condition assessments of sites contributed by experts were formatted and prepared into the following files: SiteConditionAssessment.csv - Site assessment data of on-ground habitat condition for the 314 sites contributed by experts. Descriptor_SiteConditionAssessment.csv – A file describing the fields used in the SiteConditionAssessment data file. The image assessment data were formatted and prepared into the following files: ImageAssessment.csv – Data on the 278 image assessments of habitat condition, undertaken by experts. Descriptor_ImageAssessment.csv – A file describing the fields used in the ImageAssessment.csv data file.