The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC) has called on the NSW Government to act on its commitment to stop the runaway land clearing that is decimating NSW bush.
The latest land clearing data shows that land clearing continues to devastate large swathes of vegetation every year. In NSW,an equivalent of 350 times the CBD is cleared annually, or 640 football fields per day.
The annual Statewide Land and Tree Study (SLATS) data shows an average of 95,000 hectares of native vegetation was cleared across the state every year for the past four years.
Over half of this is ‘unallocated’ or unexplained clearing that may or may not be legal. according to the NCC.
The data shows that land clearing from agriculture continues to have a huge impact on the state’s biodiversity. Agricultural clearing of ‘woody vegetation’ has increased 15 per cent; and ‘non-woody vegetation’ clearing for agriculture has increased approximately 5 per cent between 2018 and 2020. 3095 hectares of sensitive and vulnerable regulated land was cleared in 2021 alone.
Clearing of native vegetation, and the destruction of habitat associated with it is the single greatest threat to biodiversity in NSW, according to the NCC.
It is generally irreversible because of the ongoing nature of land uses change. Clearing can directly impact, kill and displace native animals and plants.
Over time, the effects of fragmentation and disturbance can lead to invasion by weeds and further deteriorate the condition and habitat values of the remnant vegetation.
‘The new figures show a regulatory framework that is unfit for purpose,’ said Nature Conservation Council CEO, Jacqui Mumford.
‘Land clearing laws in NSW are unable to rein in runaway land clearing and urgently need reform.’