Photo: Liz Martin
Australia’s unique natural environment has evolved with an abundance of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth.
An incredible 85% of our terrestrial mammals, 91% of our flowering plants, 90% of our reptiles and frogs and more than half the world’s marsupial species are only found in Australia!
This makes us custodians of an incredible natural heritage.
Unfortunately Victoria is the most cleared state in Australia. That’s why it’s so important we retain as much native vegetation as possible. This makes good economic sense as well. A 2002 study summarised the monetary values for retained native vegetation in Australia:
- Pollination: $1 billion a year.
- Tourism: $6.6 billion a year.
- Clean water: $230 million a year.
Studies have also shown that if the amount of native vegetation in the landscape falls below 10-30%, birds such as Fairy Wrens and Kookaburras can disappear.
What CAN I DO?
Native vegetation is protected by law in Victoria and some threatened species and vegetation communities are also protected nationally.
In many cases a permit from council is required to clear or lop native vegetation. There are some exemptions but it is always important to ask. Clearing without a permit can result in penalties.
If you are buying a property or considering clearing native vegetation always make a call to the council your first step. They can give you important information and help you meet all relevant planning requirements, making your subdivision, building or renovation project a lot smoother and saving you money.
aim to avoid
When considering clearing native vegetation, always apply the three-step approach.
Try not to resort to the final step, offsetting:
1. Avoid: Has every attempt been made to avoid removal of native vegetation?
2. Minimise: Has every attempt been made to minimise damage/impact to native vegetation?
3. Offset: Which areas of native vegetation or actions are proposed to offset the removal/impact ?