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Accepted development vegetation clearing codes

Step 2 – Choose the right code

Once you have your property report, scan the list below for a code that matches your clearing purpose. Click on the code title to show details and download the code.

If you're not sure of which code matches your clearing purpose or activity, refer to the overview beneath each code and the supporting documents.

Once you have determined which code to use, make sure you read the code carefully and understand all the requirements. You should also read the General guide to the vegetation clearing codes (PDF, 1.7MB) and any guide specific to the code you plan to use. You can also view ‘how to’ videos at the bottom of the page.

Note: Clearing Category X areas on freehold, Indigenous and leasehold land is exempt clearing work under Queensland vegetation management legislation. This means you don’t need to use one of the following codes to clear this land. However, before going ahead with your clearing, check with your local government for any planning requirements. Other local, state and federal government laws might also apply.

Download your code

Code: Managing encroachment accepted development vegetation clearing code (PDF, 210KB)

Overview: The encroachment code covers clearing to manage encroachment.

Encroachment means a native woody species has invaded an area of a native grassland regional ecosystem - to an extent that the area is no longer consistent with the description of the regional ecosystem. The most common example of encroachment is gidgee invading Mitchell Grass Downs.

Some grasslands regional ecosystems are not regulated under Queensland’s vegetation management laws and you do not need to notify the Department of Resources or apply for approval to clear in these areas.

The encroachment code covers clearing within the grassland regional ecosystems that are regulated under Queensland’s vegetation management laws.

This includes the following grassland regional ecosystems:

  • 3.3.56
  • 3.3.60
  • 3.3.61
  • 3.12.32
  • 4.3.20
  • 4.9.7
  • 4.9.8
  • 4.9.9
  • 5.7.9
  • 5.7.10
  • 6.7.17
  • 9.8.5
  • 9.12.42
  • 10.3.7
  • 10.3.8
  • 11.3.31
  • 11.4.11
  • 11.8.11
  • 11.9.3

To clear under the encroachment code, you must also be able to demonstrate that encroachment has occurred. For information on how to do this, refer to Section 4.1 of the code.

Applies to: Certain grassland regional ecosystems in Category B, C and R areas across Queensland. Category areas are shown on the regulated vegetation management map.

Date of effect: 21 June 2019

Supporting documents:

Code: Clearing for an extractive industry accepted development vegetation clearing code (PDF, 248KB)

Overview: The extractive industry code covers clearing for an extractive industry purpose. This includes:

  • dredging material from the bed of any waters
  • extracting, from a pit or quarry, rock, sand, clay, gravel, loam or other material
  • screening, washing, grinding, milling, sizing or separating material extracted from a pit or quarry
  • carrying out work that is the natural and ordinary consequence of dredging, extracting and processing quarry materials.

Applies to: Native vegetation in Category B, C and R areas across Queensland. The code also applies to clearing in a Category X area to allow for dredging material from the bed of any waters. Category areas are shown on the regulated vegetation management map.

Date of effect: 7 February 2020

Supporting documents:

Code: Managing fodder harvesting accepted development vegetation clearing code (PDF, 406KB)

Overview: The fodder code covers clearing of native fodder species such as mulga where it is necessary to provide fodder for stock. The fodder code only applies to certain regional ecosystems, listed in Appendix 1 of the code.

Applies to: Fodder species in Category B, C and R areas within the following local government areas:

  • Balonne
  • Barcaldine
  • Barcoo
  • Blackall Tambo
  • Bulloo
  • Diamantina
  • Goondiwindi
  • Longreach
  • Maranoa
  • Murweh
  • Paroo
  • Quilpie
  • Western Downs
  • Winton

Category areas are shown on the regulated vegetation management map.

Date of effect: 21 June 2019

Supporting documents:

Code: Clearing to improve agricultural efficiency accepted development vegetation clearing code (PDF, 161KB)

Overview: The agricultural efficiency code covers clearing vegetation to improve agricultural efficiency. This includes clearing to:

  • straighten edges or margins of an existing cropped area
  • provide for installation of irrigation systems or maximise efficiencies of existing irrigation systems, within or adjacent to an existing cropped area.

The agricultural efficiency code is not for:

  • expanding an existing agricultural area
  • removing fragments, patches or islands of native vegetation within a cropped area
  • clearing to establish a new agricultural area.

Applies to: Native vegetation in Category B, C and R areas across Queensland, in areas of existing agriculture. Category areas are shown on the regulated vegetation management map.

Date of effect: 21 June 2019

Supporting documents:

Code: Managing regulated regrowth vegetation accepted development vegetation clearing code (PDF, 301KB)

Overview: The regrowth code covers the clearing of regulated regrowth vegetation (Category C and Category R areas) for the following purposes:

Category C areas are areas of high-value regrowth vegetation that have not been cleared in the last 15 years.

Category R areas are areas within 50 metres either side of watercourses and drainage features in Great Barrier Reef catchments (Burdekin, Burnett-Mary, Eastern Cape York, Fitzroy, Mackay Whitsunday or Wet Tropics catchments).

Category areas are shown on the regulated vegetation management map.

Other codes (accepted development vegetation clearing codes) cover clearing regulated regrowth for:

Applies to: Native vegetation in Category C and R areas across Queensland

Date of effect: 7 February 2020

Supporting documents:

Code: Managing a native forest practice accepted development vegetation clearing code (PDF, 2MB)

Overview: The native forest practice code covers selective harvesting of native timber to produce value-added products (other than woodchips for export) for an ongoing forestry business.

A native forest practice does not include plantation forestry, or the harvesting of sandalwood (Santalum lanceolatum).

Applies to: Native vegetation in Category B and C areas across Queensland on freehold and Indigenous land. Category areas are shown on the regulated vegetation management map.

Date of effect: 8 August 2014

Code: Necessary environmental clearing accepted development vegetation clearing code (PDF, 274KB)

Overview: The necessary environmental clearing code covers clearing of vegetation for the following purposes (defined in detail below):

  • land restoration
  • flood preparation
  • contaminant removal
  • channel diversion (Category C areas and Category R areas only).

The code also allows clearing to provide access for these purposes.

Land restoration

Land restoration means activities to prepare, stabilise and rehabilitate an area of land degraded by any of the following:

  • soil erosion or instability
  • a salinity expression area
  • acid sulfate soils.

Flood preparation

Flood preparation means activities to reduce the likelihood or impacts of a flood. This includes removing obstacles in a waterway prone to flooding that are likely to exacerbate the impacts of a flood by impeding water flow.

Contaminant removal

Contaminant removal means activities to remove a contaminant, including pre-removal preparation works and post-removal stabilisation works. For the purposes of the code, a contaminant includes a gas, liquid, solid or energy source, including radioactivity and electromagnetic radiation, located outside its area of origin.

Channel diversion

Channel diversion means clearing that is necessary to divert a section of an existing natural watercourse or drainage feature in a way that replicates the existing watercourse or drainage feature. The new diverted channel redirects the flow of water, until it rejoins the original channel at a point downstream.

Applies to: Native vegetation in Category B, C and R areas across Queensland. Category areas are shown on the regulated vegetation management map.

Date of effect: 7 February 2020

Supporting documents:

Code: Clearing for infrastructure accepted development vegetation clearing code (PDF, 271KB)

Overview: The infrastructure code covers clearing native vegetation to establish or expand infrastructure. Under the code, infrastructure includes:

  • boundary fences
  • internal fences
  • roads or vehicular tracks
  • contour banks
  • drainage and erosion control structures
  • irrigation channels
  • other linear infrastructure (for example, a pipeline, telecommunication line or power line)
  • airstrip or helipads
  • telecommunication towers
  • other non-linear infrastructure (for example, residential housing, a stock yard or a dam)
  • firebreaks
  • fire management lines.

Applies to: Native vegetation in Category B, C and R areas across Queensland. On dedicated roads only, the code also applies to clearing in a Category X area in certain situations. Category areas are shown on the regulated vegetation management map.

Date of effect: 7 February 2020

Supporting documents:

Code: Managing weeds accepted development vegetation clearing code (PDF, 241KB)

Overview: The weeds code covers clearing native vegetation to allow for the removal of weeds. Weeds are generally non-native plants and restricted or prohibited matter declared under the Biosecurity Act 2014, such as lantana (Lantana camara) and prickly acacia (Vachellia nilotica).

In the South East Queensland bioregion, the code also allows clearing of cadaghi (Corymbia torelliana) and umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla), which are native plants that have spread beyond their native range of North Queensland.

The weeds code also authorises clearing of native vegetation to provide access to an area requiring weed control, where no suitable access exists.

Applies to: Native vegetation in Category B, C and R areas across Queensland. Category areas are shown on the Regulated Vegetation Management Map.

Date of effect: 7 February 2020

Supporting documents:

Video resources

Measuring tree density

This video guides you through the process for estimating the density of mature and immature trees in the area to be cleared.

Duration 5:41

My name is Seamus Batstone and this is Scott Devaney. Today we’re going to do a tree stem density measurement using a rectangular plot.

The plot’s going to be 100 metres long and it’s going to be 4 metres wide. So we’re going to roll out a central line tape 100 metres long, and then we’re gonna use a 2 metre long stick to count trees either side of that line.

The 100 metres by 4 metres wide is 400 square metres, which is 1/25th of a hectare. We’re going to multiply the number of trees we count in that plot by 25 to get our number per hectare.

Okay so the first part of measuring our tree density is we’ve got to get a measuring stick. So this stick I’ve already cut it down to 2 metres long. We want a 2 metre long stick.

The other thing that we need to know is diameter at breast height is measured at 1.3 metres above the ground. So as you can see, I’ve already put this mark 1.3 metres along this stick so when I hold it there, I know that I’m in the right place to measure diameter.

In terms of diameter for the eucalypts, Corymbias, Lophostemons and Angophoras in coastal areas, they’ve got to be 40 centimetres or more diameter at breast height to be a mature tree. Under that, they’re immature.

In non-coastal areas, out west, if they’re 30 centimetres or more diameter at breast height then they’re mature; below that, they’re immature.

For all other species, if they’re over 20 centimetres diameter at breast height, then those trees are mature. I’ve actually put those graduations on my stick. I put a 20 centimetre graduation, a 30 centimetre graduation if I’m working in western areas and a 40 centimetre graduation for when I’m working in coastal areas.

And we’ll use those shortly when we’re doing our transect.

So we found a representative area. This is a perfect point for our transect. To do the transect the hundred metres long you’ll either need 100 metre long tape or 100 metre long piece of rope, as long as you’re pretty certain about how long it is.

What we’re going to do is take a GPS point at the start of the transect and at the end of the transect. And the actual transect line we’re going to take using a compass. That’s to ensure that it stays straight.

So I’ll take my transect now. So I’m going to tie this off to make it easy on myself. I’ll tie it off close to the ground. Now just remember I’ve got to go about 40 centimetres over 100 metres because of I’ve lost that bit in tying it off. It’s a good idea to look back and just make sure that your line’s straight.

Scott’s gonna give me a hand with booking today. It’s much easier if you’ve got an offsider to book them down as you yell them out. Righto Scott we’ll get into it.

Okay so that’s a that’s a eucalypt. Remember to yell out the genus as you go. That’s a eucalypt, that’s in, Scott, that’s an immature tree. That’s an acacia but it’s dead, we won’t count that one, Scott. That’s an acacia, that’s an immature tree and that’s in. There’s a Lophostemon, Scott – that’s an immature tree, it’s in. This little Lophostemon, we better see if he’s over 2 metres tall; 2 metres, so he’s counted as in.

This one’s pretty close to being mature. First off, we’ll just work out where 1.3 metres is – so that’s 1.3 metres on this tree – and then we’ll check his diameter. There’s our 40 centimetre graduation, and I can see that he’s just over 40 centimetres so he’s counted as a mature tree.

That’s an immature tree, he’s just in. We’ll just keep going like this until we get to the end of our 100 metre transect.

Okay, Scott, we’ve come to the end of our transect. We’ll tally these figures up now.

Rightio let’s have a look. We’ve got 3 mature trees there in that eucalypt, Corymbia, Angophora, Lophostemon genus. So that’s 3. We didn’t get any other mature trees from another genus so the total of mature trees is 3.

We got 39 eucalypt, Corymbia, Angophora, Lophostemon that were immature, counted. And we got 13 other species. So that gives us a total immature trees of 52 in our transect. You multiply those by 25, so 52 times 25 gives us an estimated 1,300 immature trees per hectare and 75, well 3 times 25 gives us 75 mature trees per hectare. And that’s our tree density.

Some of the key things to remember are:

  • use a compass when you’re rolling out your tape or your rope just so that you keep a straight line
  • take a GPS point at the start and at the finish to show where you were
  • take some photographs of the site
  • remember to look up what a mature tree means in your area using the code that you’re using.

Identifying habitat trees

Before starting to clear, you’ll need to identify any habitat trees in the area. This video explains the requirements for habitat trees.

Duration 1:51

Accepted development vegetation clearing codes allow Queensland landholders to manage specific low-risk clearing activities without the need to apply for a development approval.

When working under a code, landholders are required to follow specific practices and meet certain requirements – for example, identifying any habitat trees in the area – before commencing any clearing activities.

All habitat trees must be retained.

There are also requirements to:

  • not damage a habitat tree
  • not mechanically clear within 5 metres of a habitat tree
  • not spray herbicide within certain distances from a habitat tree
    and
  • not leave woody debris within 2 metres of a habitat tree.

By definition under the accepted development vegetation clearing codes, habitat trees include:

  • living trees with one or more visible hollows of 10 centimetres or more in diameter and positioned at least 2 metres above the base of the tree
    and
  • any tree that contains an active bird’s nest or the nest of a raptor or other bird that uses the same nest each year.

Habitat trees are an important component of our regional ecosystems. They provide breeding sites, shelter, refuge and living places for numerous native animals.

When undertaking clearing on your property, be sure to identify and retain habitat trees, and adhere to any required buffer distances in the codes.

For more information on vegetation management or the accepted development vegetation clearing codes, contact the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

In this guide:

  1. Step 1 – Request a property report and vegetation maps
  2. Step 2 – Choose the right code
  3. Step 3 – Secure exchange areas for vegetation clearing
  4. Step 4 – Notify us before clearing
  5. Step 5 – Code compliance and recordkeeping

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