brec logo

Vegetation Management in Queensland
MEMO
August 28th 1999
webink@pasdex.com.au
http://users.pasdex.com.au/~webink

Vegetation Management in Queensland


Introduction

The Brisbane Region Environment Council believes that the only long-term way to protect native vegetation is through incentives, regulation and cultural change. VMAC is involved some fundamental decisions about Queensland and the future of its wildlife. It is highly unlikely that wildlife will survive into the long term with the proposed reserve system of just 4% of the State.

If the relationship from the southern mallee is shown to be applicable in Queensland the state reserve system would result in the extinction of at least 47% of the States species. If we retained 10%, we could lose 37% of species and if we retained 30%, we could still lose 20% of species. To BREC, this is an ethically unacceptable outcome.

VMAC is in fact deciding what share of Queensland will be left for the nature.

BREC believes that this level of removal (70%) will, in addition to outright species loss, result in serious disruptions to ecological processes. Some of the processes that will be disrupted include fauna migration, soil formation, food webs, nutrient cycling, biogeochemical cycles and local atmospheric regulation.

These impacts will also then flow on to riverine and coastal waters, hydrological cycles both surface and sub surface will be disrupted and altered.

Other environmental problems such as accelerated erosion, salinity, degradation of soil structure and health will be made worse.

While BREC strongly wishes to avoid those consequences we realise that the social, cultural, political and legal changes to reverse this trend will not happen overnight, within a year or perhaps even within decades. Nevertheless, we must start somewhere and start to turn towards something more sustainable that delivers a balanced outcome for both us and for the rest of nature. Vegetation management systems should be linked to a comprehensive Statewide, Regional and Local "State of the Environment" reporting systems that can provide information to guide land managers and decision-makers.

Realpolitik

While the consequences outlined above may seem overly gloomy they are based on sound science and will not go away. These consequences will have an economic and social impact on us. Ecological services once destroyed WILL have to be replaced by costly and problematic human technologies and systems. The generation of CO2 emissions by land clearing and the role of vegetation in these atmospheric processes will have to be addressed.

BREC request that the VMAC and staff seriously consider the strategies we have repeatedly tabled which are briefly listed below. We believe that these strategies will start to reverse our current perilous course and have a positive economic and social effect.

We support the general thrust of the current version of the proposed freehold tree clearing policy. We do believe however that in the interim arrangements the policy should focus on native vegetation, as there are other services and support for dealing with non-native vegetation.

Furthermore, we believe it is essential to maintain people, with sufficient quality of life and resources, in the landscape to assist in its care and sustainable development. A sufficient financial commitment will have to be made to ensure that this is achieved.

The Governments failure to communicate the scope of the VMAC discussions is leading to panic clearing in a number of areas. Ambit claims and inflammatory rhetoric from both sides are only exacerbating the destructive impacts on biodiversity and natural processes.

The failure of two levels of government to indicate a serious financial commitment will only further erode any consensus and goodwill that has been established.

The assertion that incentives/assistance (in-kind or cash) will not be made available in the transition to comply with regulations is dangerous and unworkable. It is an abrogation of the states responsibility to help clean up the mess that its policies, advice and support has created over the years.

BREC will not make many detailed comments until we have seen the policy as decided at VMAC#5. We will however note that the riparian corridors outlined in the policy are not achievable in the SEQ area and as written will inflame an already bad political situation. The width of riparian corridors should take into account existing native vegetation, nature conservation values, stream order, 50-100 yr flood lines, acid sulphate soils, surge lines etc.

The state interests as defined discriminate against wetlands, billabongs and parcels of remnant ecosystems under 20ha and riparian zones under 200 m wide. Mapping of these areas is virtually non-existent and needs to be done at 1:25,000 at least ASAP.

Parts of SEQ bioregion are in a clearing crisis particularly in lowland and coastal areas. There are a number of "endangered" and "of concern" regional ecosystems that will disappear if current clearing rates continue. Recent SLATS data quite clearly indicates that SEQ vegetation removal is accelerating. From this data, it would seem that progressively the Burpengary Creek (2014), Pumicestone Passage Creeks (2028), Caboolture River (2036), Broadwater Creeks (2036), Bulimba Creek (2058), Oxley Creek (2072) and Mooloolah River (2088) would all have NO vegetation apart from reserves. We also suggest VMAC consider the results of:

SEQ Vegetation Clearing Summit held in 1996 (http://users.pasdex.com.au/~webink/news/current/the_summit.html)

and our SEQ Vegetation Clearance Report 1998 (http://users.pasdex.com.au/~webink/news/current/seqclearing.html).

Lastly, while administrative simplicity is desirable it is futile if policy objectives will not be achieved.

Yours for nature

Michael Petter

Coordinator BREC


Back to Whats New Back to News Back to BREC Contents

Some Strategies/Incentives for Vegetation Management

1. Watershed services

Payment for watershed services is done through investing the future costs of downstream water treatment in upstream prevention measures. Land managers are paid an annual fee per hectare to manage for water quality objectives. It is estimated that in Queensland this would deliver 12-25 Million dollars per annum in economic benefits to land managers and the wider public

2. Pastoral/Conservation leases

This would allow conservation and ecotourism activities to occur on pastoral leases in addition to grazing.

3. Carbon credits

Payments are made by C02 emitting industries to rural areas with vegetation or for revegetation. The generation of CO2 emissions by land clearing and the role of vegetation in these atmospheric processes will have to be addressed.

4. Property Management Plans

The land manager voluntarily retains vegetation needed for the maintenance of productive capacity and the avoidance of land degradation. Transitional payments could be available for establishment costs of new management practices. Tax and rate relief could be available for retained areas.

5. Nature Conservation Services

Management of vegetation retention beyond what is retained under property management plans might attract annual government payments. This would allow the creation and management of a sizeable off reserve conservation system.

6. Bushland Acquisitions

State Government and local Councils raise levies and either acquire or lease lands for nature conservation. A 99ys lease with first option to buy could obtain Land for nature conservation. These lands could be managed by not for profit trusts or governments.

7. Ecological infrastructure

Non park lands needed for the maintenance of ecological systems could be set aside by developers and managed by local authorities for nature conservation. These areas could be protected by infrastructure agreements. The marginal cost of managing these lands could be covered in Infrastructure charging.

8. Tree clearing prohibitions

For "Endangered", "Of Concern" and "Rare" ecosystems clearing should not be permitted.

9. Regrowth

Regrowth of "endangered" ecosystems should not be cleared

Regrowth on "environmentally sensitive" lands should be retained.

Clearing regrowth "of concern" ecosystems should be minimised

Alternative management strategies for regrowth need to be investigated

10. Land Trusts

Land Trusts buy or receive donated land and establish covenants and Voluntary Conservation Agreements. These lands are then on sold.

11. Rate Rebates and Valuation Relief

Landholders would receive rate and valuation relief for parts of the property covered by State or local conservation agreements or covenants. Local governments with small rate bases would receive assistance from other governments to implement this option. Valuation relief reduces one of the drivers for more intensive developments on areas of lower intensity use.

12. Development Offsets

A transparent and accountable system of development offsets could allow developments to retain more native vegetation. The offset would mean an area in another location could be provided or that an increased density of development could be allowed in a smaller portion of the land.

13. Charitable trusts

A tax deductable charitable trust could be used to receive domestic and international donations along with a commitment for the government to provide some matching funds. These funds could then be delivered through existing schemes, both government and non-government, to assist with the implementation of some of the above strategies.

14. Local Government Package

A package of state and federal funding for land trusts, valuation and rate relief, local vegetation mapping, regional nature conservation mapping and transition costs of vegetation management laws.

Strategy Table by Broad Region

Broad Land Region

Watershed Services

Mixed Leases

CO2 Credits

PMP

Nature Cons

Buy Land

Lease

Offsets

Rate Rebate/Valuation

Land Trusts

Western Regions

$5ha

yes

$2ha

yes

$4ha

yes

   

yes

V

yes

Urban Areas

   

yes

   

yes

$500/ha

yes

yes

R+V

yes

Peri urban areas

$50ha

 

$5ha

yes

$8ha

yes

yes

yes

yes

R?+V

yes

NB Payments per hectare are indicative only. Per hectare payment would vary with land systems and management required

 

 

 

Land Cover by Tenure in Study Area source DNR VMAC#5 1999

 

Cleared

NOC

OC

E

OC*

E*

Unknown

Total

 

FH

6,838,701

2,230,253

932,780

87,495

141,029

8,041

424,973

10,663,272

23%

FL

2,745,053

1,531,959

640,533

48,924

189,361

6,421

475,705

5,637,956

12%

LH

6,843,381

10,494,633

3,108,867

842,767

1,479,616

237,679

2,337,151

25,344,094

54%

VC

836,433

158,941

617,796

91,079

22,376

209

9,999

1,736,833

4%

Other

674,389

2,020,482

20,137

30,670

269,884

13,377

649,376

3,678,315

8%

Total

17,937,957

16,436,268

5,320,113

1,100,935

2,102,266

265,727

3,897,204

47,060,470

 
 

38%

35%

11%

2%

4%

1.0%

8%

   

Land Cover by Tenure in Study Area source DNR VMAC#5 1999

Costing of protection payments in Study Area

%urban/peri

%catchment

%catchment

%RuralCons

%CarbonRural

%UrbanCons

   

5%

15%

10%

71%

20%

5%

   
 

Peri/Urban $50

Rural $5

Stwrdship $4

Credits $2

Lease $500

   

FH

$836,345

$1,059,370

$2,658,423

$373,112

$1,165,975

   

FL

$0

$727,681

$1,825,519

$256,213

$0

   

LH

$0

$4,984,951

$8,860,271

$1,243,547

$0

   

VC

$59,603

$75,497

$1,760,719

$247,118

$772,245

   

Other

$757,681

$959,729

$57,390

$8,055

$25,171

   

Total

$6,163,601

$7,807,227

$15,162,322

$2,128,045

$6,650,141

$37,911,336

Per Year

Applies to

NOC

NOC

OC

OC

OC

   

Assumes

  1. Urban/PeriUrban 5% of study area
  2. 15% of PeriUrban gets urban catchment payment NOC ecosystems
  3. 10% of Rural gets rural catchment payment NOC Ecosystems
  4. 75% of Rural OC Ecosystem gets Nature Conservation Payment
  5. 20% of OC Ecosystem gets Carbon Credit Payment
  6. 5% of Urban Area gets Nature Conservation Lease

The Study Area


Back to Whats New Back to News Back to BREC Contents
Last Modified Tuesday, 21 September 1999