May 13, 2009 Past Issues No Comments

The Queensland Government has started a process to reform the Vegetation Management Act to protect some types of regrowth vegetation.

Land clearing in Queensland.  Photo © Murray Darling Basin Authority

Land clearing in Queensland.
Photo © Murray Darling Basin Authority

If Queensland law protected endangered regrowth vegetation from clearing, what would be the result?
Protecting essential regrowth would turn around the fortunes of our hundreds of endangered species and ecosystems.

We could reduce the decline in productivity caused by soil loss and water pollution.
Queensland’s high levels of deforestation emissions could drop below the appalling level of 5% of all national greenhouse gas emissions.

What are the issues?

Livestock production on native pastures is often accompanied by overclearing. This can result in soil erosion that causes environmental and economic problems:

  • Pollution of the Great Barrier Reef by runoff threatens a $6 billion a year tourist industry.
  • Queensland’s deforestation emissions are greater than the rest of Australia’s combined total.

Case Study: In the Burdekin catchment, overclearing has been blamed for up to 98% of soil erosion; and every grazing animal in the Burdekin  is estimated to cause 61 tonnes of soil loss in that region.

What could vegetation protection achieve?

  • Conserving soil and improving water quality has economic benefits for landholders and downstream enterprises
  • Protected vegetation becomes a significant carbon sink
  • Enhanced biodiversity and ecological services.
What is remnant vegetation?

Currently, the term ‘remnant vegetation’ refers to vegetation that is 70% of height of an equivalent community of undisturbed vegetation, 50 % of what would be undisturbed foliage cover and a mix of species represented in undisturbed communities.

WPSQ wants remnant vegetation to include regrowth bushland that has the potential to regrow into its original regional ecosystem, riparian vegetation, bushland on vulnerable soils and sloping land.

WPSQ in action

In alliance with 3 other major conservation organisations, Wildlife Queensland is urging a list of recommendations on the Queensland Government that will change how vegetation is managed in Queensland – and bring huge benefits to the entire State.

  1. Create a new ‘essential regrowth’ category of vegetation for protection including regrowth vegetation.
  2. Amend the Vegetation Management Act to stop the clearing of essential
    regrowth, especially when that regrowth is essential to an endangered regional ecosystem.
  3. Make the status definitions of the Act’s regional ecosystems consistent with the definitions used for biodiversity status.
  4. All landholders and managers of land have the same responsibilities for conserving vegetation and ecological values.
  5. Mining, infrastructure and developers have the same responsibilities for land with no more exemptions.

For more information on WPSQ’s campaigns, email or phone +61 (7) 3221 0194.

Written by Wildlifeqld