A protocol for assessing applications to selectively clear vegetation in Australia

Fensham, R. J. (2008) A protocol for assessing applications to selectively clear vegetation in Australia. Land Use Policy, 25 2: 249-258. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2007.07.001

Author Fensham, R. J.
Title A protocol for assessing applications to selectively clear vegetation in Australia
Journal name Land Use Policy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0264-8377
Publication date 2008-04
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.landusepol.2007.07.001
Volume 25
Issue 2
Start page 249
End page 258
Total pages 10
Place of publication Guildford, U. K.
Publisher Pergamon
Language eng
Subject 1202 Building
1605 Policy and Administration
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
Formatted abstract
Broadscale clearance of native vegetation has been outlawed in most Australian states but there may be provisions for selective thinning to redress increases in woody vegetation (vegetation thickening) under existing legislation. A procedure described here for Queensland, Australia allows selective thinning in most vegetation types where vegetation thickening is demonstrated by changes in woody cover determined from time-series aerial photography. Before selective thinning would be allowed, thickening has to be demonstrated by a greater than 30% woody cover increase relative to the cover on the earliest aerial photograph. Retention thresholds prohibit the clearing of all mature trees and require that immature trees are retained according to prescribed densities. These thresholds are developed from field data and are specific to broad structural types of vegetation. Thinning is precluded from some vegetation types and the structural types of vegetation defining retention densities can be identified throughout Queensland with the assistance of a Regional Ecosystem mapping coverage. The procedure is compared with an alternative prepared for New South Wales. The Queensland procedure only allows selective thinning where vegetation thickening can be demonstrated and it is argued that the retention thresholds are designed to maintain the ecological integrity of the native vegetation. By contrast, the procedure for New South Wales has the potential for widespread application and will substantially undermine biodiversity values given that it allows a radical change of land-use including cropping. The Queensland procedure is equitable for applicants, provides landholders with a tenable management option to redress vegetation thickening, but is sufficiently prescriptive to preserve the character of the natural vegetation. The procedure forms the basis of an operational policy in Queensland.
© 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keyword Rangelands
Scrub encroachment
Selective thinning
Vegetation clearing
Vegetation thickening
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
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Created: Tue, 02 Feb 2010, 09:55:58 EST by Jon Swabey on behalf of Faculty of Science