Management and maintenance

There are increasing pressures from urban, industrial and agricultural development on parks and forests.

National parks and other protected areas need to provide homes for wildlife, while meeting expanding outdoor recreation needs.

Queensland’s Protected Area Strategy 2020–2030 is a ten-year plan for supporting the growth, better management and sustainability of the state’s public protected areas, including our unique national parks, and private protected areas (nature refuges and special wildlife reserves).

A Master Plan for Queensland's parks and forests sets out how parks and forests will be managed in Queensland.

A management statement or plan for each park will be prepared identifying the parks key values and how threatening processes will be managed to ensure the values are maintained or improved. With careful management, people can enjoy national parks and forests without damaging them.

Management principles

The most important principle for managing national parks is to keep them in, as close as possible, to their natural state without human interference.

Other management principles for national parks are:

  • to present the park's cultural and natural resources and their values
  • to ensure that park use is nature-based and ecologically sustainable.

Management statements and plans

Management statements or plans are prepared for all protected areas. The statements and plans provide strategic direction on how the areas will be managed. The public is invited to have their say whenever a draft management plan is prepared.

Fire management

QPWS recognises that fire: is a natural and integral part of the Australian environment; that continues to shape many of Queensland’s landscapes.

Fire influences the distribution, composition and diversity of ecosystems and flora and fauna species. Many species and communities need fire for their long term survival, while others can be threatened by fire. The optimal timing, frequency and intensity of fire varies between ecosystems, but these systems can lose biological diversity if fire is not used to manage them appropriately.

QPWS’ fire management program is:

  • Informed by overarching legislation and policy, science, and lessons learnt through program review and incident investigation / analysis, and is
  • Underpinned by a robust Fire Management Framework that drives coordinated and accountable planning, implementation, evaluation, monitoring and reporting of fire management activities on its lands.

In accordance with the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and Forestry Act 1959, QPWS is responsible for protecting and conserving the natural, cultural, productive and social values within its parks and forests.  The Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 requires all landholders, including QPWS, to manage fuel risk and to take all reasonable steps to extinguish or control fire on their land. In addressing these statutory obligations, QPWS adopts the following primary objectives:

  • To protect life, property and community assets from the adverse impacts of fire
  • To manage fire to maintain and enhance ecosystem health, biodiversity and the range of habitats
  • To protect other park and forests values, such as places of cultural heritage significance and natural resource productivity
  • To foster coordinated and cooperative partnerships with other fire authorities, as well as Traditional Owners, lessees, park and forest users, neighbours and communities, in order to manage fire across the landscape.

As part of the strategic planning framework ‘Levels of Service’ standards are set for all protected areas to ensure that investment in park management is directed to where it is needed most and also that management planning is delivered in a consistent and efficient manner. This framework provides the basis for establishing strategic priorities for fire management through the development of specific Fire Thematic Strategies with clear objectives and actions that align with the values and levels of service standards ascribed for a particular protected area. QPWS has a number of systems, programs and tools that support delivery of this strategic approach to fire management.

Adoption of such an approach supports decision making in relation to the effective allocation of limited resources to deliver the best outcomes for the protection and recovery of key estate values that are impacted by fire.

Pest plants and animals

Invasive plants and animals cost Queensland an estimated $710 million annually and have significant impacts on primary industries, natural ecosystems, and human and animal health. They place a large burden on communities in terms of control costs, reduce industry productivity, threaten environmentally significant areas, degrade land and water quality, reduce biodiversity and impact on health, recreational use and social amenity.

With responsibility for custodial management of a geographically dispersed protected area and forest estate, covering some 7.47% of the State’s land area the QPWS is committed to and prioritises controlling pest plants and animals. Recognising that effective management of pests across the landscape is a shared responsibility QPWS works cooperatively with other state and local government agencies, landholders, NRM bodies and Traditional Owners.

Find out how pest plants and animals are managed.

What are pest plants and animals?

Pest plant and animals are species that occur beyond their natural range and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) recognises that pests cause serious environmental, economic and social impacts and pose significant threats to biodiversity.  Pests can dramatically alter habitats, ecosystems and ecological processes and drive threatened species and communities to extinction.

How does QPWS manage pest plants and animals?

In response to these threats, QPWS carries out pest control work as a critical part of its management to remove or mitigate the threats pests have on these values.

In accordance with the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and Forestry Act 1959, QPWS is responsible for protecting and conserving the natural, cultural, productive and social values within its parks and forests.  Consistent with all other landholders, QPWS has a responsibility under the Biosecurity Act 2014 to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with plant and animal pests on lands under their control.

In managing pests, QPWS utilises a comprehensive Pest Management Framework that sets standards for the preparation and operational aspects of pest management operations on its parks and forests. QPWS has also developed a Pest Management System to facilitate pest management planning and to guide on-ground pest management activities.

Pest management objectives

The objectives for QPWS in managing pests are to:

  • protect natural and cultural values, including threatened species and ecosystems, by eradicating pests or significantly reducing impacts
  • prevent the introduction or spread of any declared plant or animal on the QPWS estate
  • undertake pest control programs in cooperation with neighbouring landholders, other State agencies and local government in accordance with the QPWS Good Neighbour Policy
  • use contemporary pest management techniques to reduce environmental, economic and social impacts
  • ensure that pest management is properly planned and executed to produce tangible and long-term outcomes
  • improve the effectiveness of its pest management through investigating innovations and new technologies

Pest management priorities

QPWS has identified the following priorities:

  • Pests declared under the Biosecurity Act 2014
  • Pest animals including feral pigs, feral goats, feral horses, wild dogs and foxes.

Community involvement

QPWS is committed to working with the rural community in managing and eradicating pests across the landscape.

QPWS supports Landcare and Integrated Catchment Management initiatives including the involvement of its local and regional staff in forums and field activities to increase community awareness of pest issues

QPWS staff participate in the development of local government area pest management plans, to facilitate an integrated and co-ordinated approach to pest management. Planning at local government level is helping to prioritise pest control activities on QPWS estate.

What can I do to help prevent the spread of pests?

Visitors to parks and forests can help prevent the spread of pest plants by following some basic pest plant hygiene principles.

  • Drive only on established and designated tracks - seeds can become lodged in vehicle tyres and radiators.
  • Clean your clothing, shoes and camping gear before leaving a campground - seeds can attach to shoes, socks and velcro strips on tents.
  • Keep your boat and trailer free of plant material - aquatic pest plants are capable of growing from parts of plants and not necessarily just from seeds.
  • Don't pick or carry flowers or plants from one area to another - particularly into a park or forest.

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