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Extent and rate of change of riparian vegetation

Key Finding

Between 2013 and 2017, woody vegetation has decreased in extent within the riparian zones of South East Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef catchments. Most of the decrease is due to land clearing. Maintaining vegetation in the area adjacent to waterways is important for reducing pollutant flow to waterways, stabilising the streambank, and providing habitat for biodiversity.

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Queensland

Non-forested riparian areas with very low ground cover levels may be areas of concern for soil and nutrient loss to the stream. Maintaining and increasing the extent of riparian vegetation is therefore important to minimise impacts of erosion on water quality.

Riparian areas are defined by a 50 metre buffer zone applied to a combination of topographic drainage line data and riverine wetlands, as mapped by the Queensland Wetlands Program. Vegetation is mapped using Sentinel-2 satellite imagery, at a spatial resolution of 10 metres. Data is reported for the South East Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef catchments.

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South East Queensland

Change in riparian vegetation for South East Queensland is measured across 14 sub-catchments from the Noosa River catchment in the north to the Nerang/Gold Coast catchment in the south, including the western catchments of the Upper Brisbane River, Lockyer Creek and Bremer River.

Riparian woody vegetation loss in South East Queensland fluctuated around a mean of 770 hectares (0.15% of riparian extent) per year between 1988 and 2017.

For the 2013–17 period, losses increased to a mean of 830 hectares (0.16% of riparian extent) per year.

For the 1988–2017 period the Pumicestone catchment had the highest proportion of riparian woody vegetation loss, largely due to forestry.

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Reef Catchments

Change in riparian vegetation is measured across 6 natural resource management regions, containing 47 sub-catchments that drain into the Great Barrier Reef.

Compared to previous periods, there was an accelerated increase in the loss of riparian woody vegetation between 2013 and 2017.

The Fitzroy and Burnett Mary regions had the highest amounts of loss of woody vegetation within the riparian extent, with 1.2% and 1.3% respectively.

The Cape York region maintained a loss of less than 0.03% in the 2013 to 2017 periods.

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Relevant Sustainable Development Goals’ targets

  • GOAL 15: LIFE ON LAND

Overall data for Queensland not supplied

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in South East Queensland

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
South East Queensland3.600.62

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Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Bremer

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Bremer2.930.65

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Brisbane River

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Brisbane River7.260.95

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Logan Albert

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Logan Albert2.520.40

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Lockyer

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Lockyer2.400.65

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Maroochy

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Maroochy3.730.37

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Mid Brisbane Catchment

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Mid Brisbane Catchment1.710.25

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Mooloolah

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Mooloolah5.600.86

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Nerang Gold Coast

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Nerang Gold Coast3.870.64

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Noosa

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Noosa5.650.66

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Pine Rivers

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Pine Rivers4.410.45

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Pumicestone

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Pumicestone20.393.13

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Redlands

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Redlands4.300.37

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Stanley Somerset

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Stanley Somerset3.910.65

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Upper Brisbane

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Upper Brisbane2.050.44

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Reef catchments regions

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Reef catchments regions4.000.80

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Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Fitzroy

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Fitzroy6.801.20

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Burnett Mary

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Burnett Mary4.201.30

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Mackay Whitsunday

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Mackay Whitsunday2.300.60

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Wet Tropics

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Wet Tropics1.500.30

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Cape York

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Cape York0.200.00

Loss of riparian woody vegetation in Burdekin

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1988–2013 woody vegetation loss per cent2013–2017 woody vegetation loss per cent
Burdekin3.300.60

Download data from Queensland Government data

Metadata

Change in the extent of woody vegetation within the riparian area for Reef Catchments and South East Queensland. The riparian area has been defined as any area within 50m of a (mapped) stream or wetland. The riparian woody vegetation extent is an estimate based on a remote-sensing derived product, Foliage Projective Cover (using Sentinel-2 satellite data 2016–2017), with a spatial resolution of 10m. Historical and recent losses of riparian woody vegetation are analysed using woody vegetation clearing data from the Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS) (1988–2017) and ‘pre-development’ estimates of woody vegetation.