The latest landcover study figures released today highlight the importance of Queensland’s strong vegetation management laws, the Palaszczuk Government says.
The data, which covers activity during 2016-17 and 2017-18, pre-dates vegetation management laws passed by the Queensland Parliament earlier this year.
Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said the latest Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS), highlighted the devastating impact of the former LNP Government’s green light to allow excess tree clearing.
“The figures paint the picture of the devastation caused by uncontrolled land clearing of Queensland’s landscape,” Ms Trad said.
“The data shows that in 2016-17 and 2017-18, before our laws came into effect, tree clearing was still continuing at a rate more than 1000 football fields every day.
“We went to the 2015 and 2017 elections with a commitment to introduce strong native vegetation laws to better protect Queensland’s environment and that’s what we’ve delivered.
“While our attempts to change the laws in 2016 were blocked by the LNP, the legislation was reintroduced and passed by the Queensland Parliament earlier this year.”
SLATS scientists monitor woody vegetation change due to clearing over time, using satellite imagery.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science Leeanne Enoch said this was the best available science and demonstrates the need for further protections in Great Barrier Reef catchments.
“This latest SLATS report shows nearly half of the trees cleared in 2016-17 were in the Great Barrier Reef catchments.
“The SLATS program is integral to the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to protect the Great Barrier Reef, and to regulate the clearing of vegetation in order to conserve remnant vegetation, minimise land degradation, maintain ecological processes and prevent the loss of biodiversity.
“Thanks to our laws, 405,000 hectares of vegetation, are now protected in catchments that flow into the Great Barrier Reef.
“Reducing land clearing was a commitment in the Reef 2050 Sustainability Plan.”
Ms Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government’s vegetation management laws also ensures habitat for threatened species are protected.
“Last year, our Government commissioned the independent Queensland Species Technical Committee to carry out a review of the impacts of land clearing on our threatened species.
“The findings were unequivocal – land clearing causes species death and habitat loss, it exacerbates other threatening processes, and reduces the resilience of threatened species to survive future challenges such as climate change.”
The reduction of land clearing is also helping to ensure we meet our global commitments to reduce carbon emissions.
“Science shows that keeping trees in the ground is a simple and effective way of reducing our emissions, and the Government’s strong and sensible tree clearing laws will ensure we are able to meet our emissions targets.”
The SLATS report and further information can be found here: https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/management/mapping/statewide-monitoring/slats/slats-reports
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch