DPIPWE uses the Land Capability Classification System (LCCS) to assess, classify and map land according to its ability to support a range of crops on a long term sustainable basis. The evaluation is based on the degree of limitation imposed on that land by a variety of physical factors which include erosion, soils, wetness and climate. Land is evaluated on the basis of the range of potential crops, productivity, ease of management and risk of degradation. Only broadacre agricultural crops and pastoral activities are considered, and only where they occur on private freehold and leased Crown land.
Land capability assessment is an interpretive and somewhat subjective system for evaluating a suite of resource information. It provides a ranking of the ability of an area to support a range of agricultural activities on a sustainable basis.
The classification system comprises seven classes ranked in order of increasing degree of limitation in relation to agricultural use, and decreasing order of agricultural versatility. Class 1 is the best land and Class 7 the poorest. Class 4 is considered marginal for cropping activities.
Land Capability Classes on Private Land in Tasmania
The State Policy for the Protection of Agricultural Land seeks to protect prime agricultural land from conversion to non-agricultural uses. It achieves this by setting constraints as to how prime land can be used. Prime land is considered to be land that is classified as Class 1, 2 or 3 by the agricultural land classification system, Tasmania.
For further Information see the
State Policy on the Protection of Agricultural Land 2009
on the Department of Premier and Cabinet website.
Using Land Capability Information
Small scale surveys (eg. 1:100 000) include Class information only. Planners and administrators require the best available resource data, including land capability information, for reliable development planning and informed decision making. Land capability classification can be used for:
- providing a land quality inventory for Tasmania's agricultural land resource;
- identifying areas of prime agricultural land;
- assisting with regional strategy planning; and
- resolving State level land use conflicts.
Medium scale surveys (eg. 1:50 000) include Class and Sub-class information. At the district level, information on the type of limitation is necessary for planners, consultants and land managers involved in urban and rural development planning. Activities which may benefit from this level of land capability information include:
- transport, telecommunication and transmission line route planning;
- urban and rural development planning;
- location of irrigation schemes;
- determining landfill and effluent disposal site locations; and
- residential subdivision and industrial development planning.
Medium and large scale surveys (eg. 1:50 000 and 1:25 000 scale), with Class, Sub-class and sometimes Unit information. There is an increasing use of land capability information for integrated catchment management in Tasmania. Besides providing more detail for those users at the District level this information can assist with:
- identifying areas for specific land uses (eg. vineyards);
- defining management options;
- providing information for detailed planning and policy development; and
- identifying areas at risk from degradation.
Large scale farm/site surveys (eg. 1:10 000 to 1:5 000 scale) include all three levels of land capability classification information (Class, Sub-class and Unit). Land managers utilise the land capability classification system to address sustainability issues on their properties by ensuring land use practices are matched with the ability of the land to support those practices. Similarly, detailed land capability information can be utilised for urban development planning. Examples of uses at this level include:
- whole farm planning (eg. determining crop selection and rotation, and location of farm infrastructure such as shelterbelts, roadways, new fence lines, dams, water easements and conservation earth works);
- preventing resource degradation;
- urban site assessment; and
- run-off control and drainage system planning.