The hidden impact of policy changes on remnant vegetation in Queensland, Australia

Hernandez, Stephanie, Adams, Vanessa M., and Duce, Stephanie (2024) The hidden impact of policy changes on remnant vegetation in Queensland, Australia. Land Use Policy, 139. 107064.

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Habitat loss is a key driver of species extinction, demanding effective policies to regulate land clearing and mitigate this threat. This study examines the impact of policy changes on the availability of vegetation for clearing in Queensland, Australia, focusing on three policy variants from 2012, 2015, and 2019. Our analysis highlights significant shifts in remnant vegetation availability. In 2015, the introduction of permissions for clearing native vegetation for agricultural and pastoral production resulted in an additional 84 million ha of remnant vegetation becoming available for clearing. Furthermore, changes made in 2015 decreased riparian buffer zones, further expanding the extent of remnant vegetation on which clearing for specific purposes is permissible. Between 2015 and 2019, we identified five policy changes with substantial implications for vegetation management, including revoking permission for establishing broad acre cropping or grazing properties and removing thinning as a relevant clearing purpose. While the 2019 guidelines provide increased protection for remnant vegetation, it's crucial to note that all policy changes took place within a relatively brief period. Sudden policy changes can disrupt existing land management practices and strategies, potentially leading to confusion and challenges in adapting to new regulations and requirements. Our findings underscore the need to consider the ecological effects of rapid policy changes, as underestimating their overall impact on vegetation can have far-reaching implications for species preservation and ecosystem health.

Item ID: 81990
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-5754
Keywords: Comparative policy analysis, Land clearing, Queensland, Regional ecosystems, Spatial policy analysis, Vegetation management act
Copyright Information: © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2024 01:17
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 40%
48 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 4802 Environmental and resources law > 480203 Environmental law @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 30%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1902 Environmental policy, legislation and standards > 190207 Land policy @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180603 Evaluation, allocation, and impacts of land use @ 50%
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