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Extent of endangered, of concern and no concern at present regional ecosystems

Key finding

The area of Queensland is 172.8 million hectares. In 2015, Queensland remnant vegetation covered about 80% of the state, of which 1% had a conservation classification of ‘endangered’ regional ecosystems, 9% classified as ‘of concern’ and 70% of remnant regional ecosystems were of ‘no concern at present’.

Queensland

Remnant vegetation is classified by regional ecosystem. In 2017, there were 1,459 regional ecosystems described at 1:100,000 scale. Each regional ecosystem has an assigned biodiversity status and a vegetation management class.

Biodiversity status and vegetation management class use pre-clearing extent and remnant extent, and thresholds are applied. These are defined as:

  • ‘Endangered’ regional ecosystems are those where less than 10% of their pre-clearing extent remains
  • ‘Of concern’ regional ecosystems are those where between 10% and 30% of their pre-clearing extent remains
  • Regional ecosystems classed as of ‘no concern at present’ (biodiversity status) or ‘least concern’ (vegetation management class) are those where more than 30% of their pre-clearing extent remain.

The vegetation management class uses the extent thresholds for determining categories under the Vegetation Management Act 1999 which regulates vegetation clearing in Queensland.

The biodiversity status is based on an assessment of the condition of the regional ecosystem in addition to the vegetation management class criteria. The biodiversity status is used for mining regulatory purposes under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and planning for biodiversity conservation. For reporting purposes, the information in this indicator refers to biodiversity status of a regional ecosystem.

In 2015, about 80% of the state contained native remnant vegetation, of which:

  • 1% of the state is remnant ‘endangered’ regional ecosystems.
  • 9% of the state is remnant ‘of concern’ regional ecosystems.
  • 70% of the state is remnant ‘no concern at present’ regional ecosystems.

Regional ecosystem extent monitoring commenced in 1997. Clearing of remnant regional ecosystems peaked in 1999-2000 when 662,000ha were cleared in that period. Stronger vegetation protection legislation in 2000 resulted in a more than 50% reduction of remnant regional ecosystem clearing in 2000-2001. Land clearing steadily declined from 2003, reinforced with further regulation of vegetation clearing in 2006, reaching a minimum of 28,000ha per year in 2009-2011. Regional ecosystem clearing increased to 37,000ha per year in 2011-2013 and further increased to over 101,000ha per year in 2013-2015.

Brigalow Belt

The Brigalow Belt (BRB) bioregion in 2015 had 41.45% of pre-clearing extent of regional ecosystems remaining, classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 5.9%
  • ‘Of concern’, 19.6%
  • ‘No concern at present’, 74.5%.

The peak regional ecosystem clearing occurred in 1999-2000, reducing more than three-fold in 2000-2001 and falling to 2% and 4% of peak clearing in 2009-2011 and 2011-2013 respectively. Clearing rose to 7% in 2013-2015.

The ‘Endangered’ and ‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystems had similar trends to that of the total regional ecosystem clearing.

The ‘Of concern’ peak clearing period occurred in 1997-1999.

  • ‘Endangered’ regional ecosystem clearing reduced to 2% of peak clearing in 2005-2006b* and 2011-2013, but increased to 4% of peak clearing in 2013-2015 respectively.
  • ‘Of concern’ regional ecosystems clearing, having reduced to 3% of peak clearing in 2011-2013, increased to 6% of peak clearing in 2013-2015.
  • ‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystem clearing reduced to 34% of peak clearing in 2000-2001 and then to 6% in 2011-2013, but increased to 9% in 2013-2015.

*2006b refers to the ‘wet season’ from late 2006 to early 2007.

Cape York Peninsula

The Cape York Peninsula (CYP) bioregion in 2015 had 99.3% of pre-clearing extent of remnant regional ecosystems remaining, classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 0.1%
  • ‘Of concern’, 3.9%
  • ‘No concern at present’, 96%.

The peak clearing for the CYP bioregion occurred in 2006b*-2009.

The ‘Endangered’ regional ecosystems peak clearing occurred in 2003-2005.

  • ‘Endangered’ regional ecosystem clearing reduced to no clearing in 2011-2013 and to 71% of peak clearing in 2013-2015.

The ‘Of concern’ regional ecosystems peak clearing occurred in 2013-2015.

  • ‘Of concern’ regional ecosystem clearing had increased two-fold from previous peak clearing (2003-2005).

*2006b refers to the ‘wet season’ from late 2006 to early 2007.

Central Queensland Coast

The Central Queensland Coast (CQC) bioregion in 2015 had 69.8% of pre-clearing extent of remnant regional ecosystems remaining, classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 5.2%
  • ‘Of concern’, 18.1%
  • ‘No concern at present’, 76.7%.

The peak regional ecosystem clearing occurred in 1999-2000.

Regional ecosystem clearing in CQC has fluctuated, reducing to 16% and 3.5% of the peak clearing in 2006b*-2009 and 2011-2013 respectively, but increasing to 15% of peak clearing in 2013-2015

The ‘Endangered’, ‘Of concern’ and ‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystems had similar trends to that of the total regional ecosystem clearing.

*2006b refers to the ‘wet season’ from late 2006 to early 2007.

Channel Country

The Channel Country (CHC) bioregion in 2015 had 99.8% of pre-clearing extent of remnant regional ecosystems remaining, classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 0.01%
  • ‘Of concern’, 32.4%
  • ‘No concern at present’, 97.6%.

The peak regional ecosystem clearing occurred in 2005-2006.

Regional ecosystem clearing in CHC has fluctuated, reducing to 5.3% and 4% of the peak clearing in 2006b-2009* and 2011-2013 respectively, but increasing to 17% of peak clearing in 2013-2015

The ‘Of concern’ and ‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystems had similar trends to that of the total regional ecosystem clearing. No ‘Endangered’ regional ecosystem clearing has been recorded.

*2006b refers to the ‘wet season’ from late 2006 to early 2007.

Desert Uplands

The Desert Uplands (DEU) bioregion in 2015 had 81.2% of pre-clearing extent of remnant regional ecosystems remaining, classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 1.96%
  • ‘Of concern,’ 14.6%
  • ‘No concern at present,’ 83.6%.

The peak regional ecosystem clearing occurred in 1999-2000.

Regional ecosystem clearing in the bioregion has fluctuated, reducing to 3.5% of the peak clearing in 2011-2013 before increasing to 6% of the peak clearing in 2013-2015.

‘Of concern’ and ‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystems had similar trends to that of the total regional ecosystem clearing.

Peak clearing of ‘Endangered’ regional ecosystems occurred in 2001-2003, reduced to 2.9% of peak ‘Endangered’ clearing in 2011-2013 but increased to 14% of peak clearing in 2013-2015.

Einasleigh Uplands

The Einasleigh Uplands (EIU) bioregion in 2015 had 97.6% of pre-clearing extent of remnant regional ecosystems remaining, classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 0.1%
  • ‘Of concern’, 11.1%
  • ‘No concern at present’, 88.8%.

The peak regional ecosystem clearing occurred in 1999-2000.

Regional ecosystem clearing in the bioregion has fluctuated, reducing to 40.4% and 8.9% of the peak clearing in 2006b*-2009 and 2011-2013 respectively but increased to 14% of the peak clearing in 2013-2015

‘Of concern’ and ‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystems had similar trends to that of the total regional ecosystem clearing. The ‘Endangered’ regional ecosystems peak clearing occurred in 2005-2006b*. No ‘Endangered’ regional ecosystem clearing was recorded in 2000-2003 and 2009-2015.

*2006b refers to the ‘wet season’ from late 2006 to early 2007.

Gulf Plains

The Gulf Plains (GUP) bioregion in 2015 had 99.13% of pre-clearing extent of remnant regional ecosystems remaining, classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 0.1%
  • ‘Of concern’, 20.0%
  • ‘No concern at present’, 79.9%.

The peak regional ecosystem clearing occurred in 2013-2015 but increased above two-fold from previous peak period of 2003-2005.

  • No ‘Endangered’ regional ecosystem clearing was recorded in 1997-2000, 2005-2009 and 2011-2015.
  • ‘Of concern’ regional ecosystems clearing reached in 2013-2015 over four and half times the previous peak of 2003-2005.
  • ‘No concern at present’ has fluctuated, reducing to 20.9% and 7% of peak clearing in 2006b*-2009 and 2011-2013 respectively and increased to 79% of peak clearing in 2013-2015.

*2006b refers to the ‘wet season’ from late 2006 to early 2007.

Mitchell Grass Downs

The Mitchell Grass Downs (MGD) bioregion in 2015 had 94.07% of pre-clearing extent of remnant regional ecosystems remaining, classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 0.06%
  • ‘Of concern’, 0.3%
  • ‘No concern at present’, 99.6%.

The peak regional ecosystem clearing was in 1999-2000.

Regional ecosystem clearing in the bioregion reduced in 2006b*-2009 to 6.7% of peak clearing and increased to 10.1% and 22.4% of the peak clearing occurring in 2011-2013 and 2013-2015 respectively.

‘Of concern’ and ‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystems had similar trends to that of the total regional ecosystem clearing. No ‘Endangered’ regional ecosystem clearing was recorded post-2001.

*2006b refers to the ‘wet season’ from late 2006 to early 2007.

Mulga Lands

The Mulga Lands (MUL) bioregion in 2015 had 74.6% of pre-clearing extent of remnant regional ecosystems remaining, classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 0.9%
  • ‘Of concern’, 20.5%
  • ‘No concern at present’, 78.6%.

The peak regional ecosystem clearing occurred in 2001-2003.

Regional ecosystem clearing in the bioregion has fluctuated, reducing to 6% of the peak clearing in 2011-2013 but increasing to 15.5% of the peak clearing in 2013-2015.

‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystems had similar trends to that of the total regional ecosystem clearing.

‘Endangered’ regional ecosystems clearing peaked in 1999-2000 and reduced to 0.8% and 2.5% of peak clearing in 2011-2013 and 2013-2015 respectively.

‘Of concern’ regional ecosystems clearing peaked in 1999-2000 and reduced to 2.2% and 12.5% of peak clearing in 2011-2013 and 2013-2015 respectively.

New England Tableland

The New England Tableland (NET) bioregion in 2015 had 36.38% of pre-clearing extent of remnant regional ecosystems remaining. This was the lowest for a bioregion in Queensland. Regional ecosystems present were classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 18.8%
  • ‘Of concern’, 62.5%
  • ‘No concern at present’, 18.6%.

The peak regional ecosystem clearing for the bioregion occurred in 1997-1999.

Regional ecosystem clearing in the bioregion has fluctuated, reducing to 3.2% of the peak clearing in 2009-2011 and increasing to 17.3% and 19.5% of peak clearing in 2011-2013 and 2013-2015 respectively.

‘Endangered’, ‘Of concern’ and ‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystems had similar trends to that of the total regional ecosystem clearing from 1997-2013. The ‘Of concern’ regional ecosystems clearing reduced to 0.5% and 2.5% of its peak in 2009-2011 and 2011-2013 respectively.

  • ‘Endangered’ regional ecosystems clearing reduced to 3.7% of peak clearing in 2011-2013 but increased to 16.5% of peak clearing in 2013-2015.
  • ‘Of concern’ regional ecosystems clearing reduced to 2.84% of peak clearing in 2011-2013 but increased to 21.11% of peak clearing in 2013-2015.
  • ‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystems clearing reduced to 0.7% of peak clearing in 2011-2013 but increased to 7.5% of peak clearing in 2013-2015.

Northwest Highlands

The Northwest Highlands (NWH) bioregion in 2015 had 99.57% of pre-clearing extent of remnant regional ecosystems remaining, classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 1.96%
  • ‘Of concern’, 1.8%
  • ‘No concern at present’, 96.3%.

The peak regional ecosystem clearing for the NWH bioregion was in 1997-1999, reducing to 44% of that peak in 2000-2001 and to 5% of peak clearing in 2005-2006b*. Fluctuations have seen an increase to 26% in 2006b*-2009, then a fall to 2% in the 2009-2011 followed by further increases, to 17% and 18% in 2011-2013 and 2013-2015 respectively.

‘Of concern’ and ‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystems had similar trends to that of the total regional ecosystem clearing.

‘Endangered’ regional ecosystem clearing peaked in 2013-2015 almost two-fold on the previous 2011-2013 period.

No ‘Endangered’ regional ecosystem clearing was recorded in 2000-2001, 2005-2006b and 2009-2011.

*2006b refers to the ‘wet season’ from late 2006 to early 2007.

Southeast Queensland

The Southeast Queensland (SEQ) bioregion in 2015 had 44.17% of pre-clearing extent of remnant regional ecosystems remaining, classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 4.23%
  • ‘Of concern’, 23.2%
  • ‘No concern at present’, 72.6%.

The peak regional ecosystem clearing occurred in 1999-2000.

Regional ecosystem clearing in the bioregion has fluctuated, reducing to 6.3% of the peak clearing in 2011-2013 and increasing to 16.4% of the peak clearing in 2013-2015.

‘Endangered’, ‘Of concern’ and ‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystems had similar trends to that of the total regional ecosystem clearing from 1997-2015.

Wet Tropics

The Wet Tropics (WET) bioregion in 2015 had 76.73% of pre-clearing extent of remnant regional ecosystems remaining, classified as:

  • ‘Endangered’, 15%
  • ‘Of concern,’ 20.7%
  • ‘No concern at present’, 64.2%.

The peak regional ecosystem clearing was in 1997-1999.

Regional ecosystem clearing reduced to 10.7% and 3.7% of peak clearing in 2011-2013 and increased to 21.9% of peak clearing in 2013-2015.

The ‘Endangered’, ‘Of concern’ and ‘No concern at present’ regional ecosystems had similar trends to that of the total regional ecosystem clearing from 1997-2015.

More information:

Indicator: Extent of regional ecosystems by conservation classification

Comparison between pre-clear (pre-European settlement extent) and remnant (current extent) vegetation mapping. Categories by regional ecosystem biodiversity status of Endangered, Of Concern or No Concern at Present. Data is based on the latest Regional Ecosystems mapping (2017).

Download data from Queensland Government data

Last updated 8 January 2019