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CeRDI develops spatial map for endangered Leadbeater’s Possum

11 November 2015

A partnership between the Victorian government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Federation University Australia’s Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI) has led to the development of an interactive spatial map of the endangered Leadbeater’s Possum.

Found only in Victoria, the Leadbeater’s Possum which is also the State’s faunal emblem inhabits some forested regions in Victoria’s central highlands, and small regional pockets to the north and east of Melbourne. This species of possum is critically endangered and, while new sightings of the possum have recently been recorded, Leadbeater's Possum colonies are still under threat from habitat modification.

Efforts to halt the decline of the species have resulted in a range of state government initiatives including the establishment of spatial maps of possum colonies across Victoria.  In collaboration with staff at DELWP, CeRDI – led by Robert Milne, Birgita Hansen and Andrew MacLeod – developed the web-based interactive map of the Leadbeater’s Possum thus enabling access to the most current, location-specific data of all known colonies.

The Leadbeater’s Possum Interactive Map, which is accessible to the general public provides a gateway to key information that has the potential to support species conservation activities and environmental management and planning for specific colonies, across the state. The currency of data available via the map also provides location-specific details of all pre-existing (since 1998) and new possum colonies. The range of mapping options provides greater insights about the location of colonies in relation to important landmarks, infrastructure and the environmental landscape.

The Leadbeater’s Possum Interactive Map consolidates and extends CeRDI’s considerable expertise in using spatial technology and developing interactive maps and associated tools for environmental planning and natural resource management.  The CeRDI-led Visualising Victoria’s Groundwater (VVG) provided the foundation for establishing the Centre’s strong national and international reputation – and skills – for interoperable technologies and spatial mapping which have since been adopted in this and other similar projects. 

For more information about the Leadbeater’s Possum Interactive map visit DELWP:

http://www.delwp.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/conserving-threatened-species-and-communities/leadbeaters-possum

Further information about this project can be obtained from CeRDI Research Associate Rob Milne: r.milne@federation.edu.au

Visualising Victoria’s Groundwater: www.vvg.org.au

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