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Native vegetation

Native vegetation has benefits for both on–farm production and the health of the region. Healthy native vegetation on your farm can increase land values and productivity while also reducing operating costs.

What is remnant vegetation?

Remnant vegetation refers to any original patches of native vegetation remaining intact in the landscapeThis can be bushland, grassland, wetland or riparian vegetation, or even single scattered trees. It can be original vegetation or the regrowth of the original vegetation.

Why do we need it?

Remnant native vegetation has many benefits for landholders and the environment if it's managed properly This doesn't necessarily mean locking it away so that it can't be accessed or so that the resources can't be used.

There are many farm productivity benefits to be gained from remnant vegetation, including:

  • lower stock mortality rates – vegetation shades and shelters livestock, especially shorn sheep and young lambs and calves
  • prevention of erosion - native trees, shrubs and groundcover help stabilise the soil and shelter it from wind and rain
  • holding water in the landscape as a buffer against extreme weather
  • corridors for animals to move within for breeding and to find better habitat and food
  • essential wildlife habitat, particularly for threatened species
  • termites and ants to decompose plant material, aerate the soil and spread seeds
  • shelter for birds of prey helps reduce pest animal numbers, including rabbits and hares
  • native fish consume mosquito larvae reducing mosquito numbers
  • improved property values.

Native plants are also deliver important ecosystem services, including:

  • Filtering out nutrients in the water
  • Stabilising and adding nutrients to soils
  • Removing carbon and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere
  • Providing food, shelter and breeding habitat for animals.

These ecosystem processes create a healthy environment made up of stable soils, fresh air, clean water, food and shelter.

What can you do to conserve native vegetation?

Broad-scale clearing of natural vegetation has resulted in remnants becoming increasingly fragmented. As these remnants are often surrounded by cleared or developed land, they are easily disturbed by uncontrolled grazing, weeds, feral animals, fire and variations in climate.

As the landscape fragments, there is also a loss of connectivity between remnants. This means that many animals are unable to move between patches of vegetation to seek food, shelter or suitable mates. The protection and restoration of existing remnants is vital in preventing further loss of biodiversity and ecosystem function.

An incentive property vegetation plan, developed with Local Land Services, can provide landholders with advice and financial assistance to protect and manage native vegetation on their properties. Call 1300 795 299 to find out about obtaining a Property Vegetation Plan for your property.

NSW Roadside Environment Committee (REC)

The NSW Government established the NSW Roadside Environment Committee (REC) in 1994 to promote and coordinate leading practice in linear reserve environmental management across the State. Membership includes various organisations with interests in the management of roadside and other linear reserves in NSW, inclusive of Local Land Services. 

Apart from covering a large area, the State's linear reserves contain significant biodiversity, including ecological communities that are not protected in national parks, public reserves or private land. In rural areas, linear reserves are often the only remaining intact natural environments in the local region due to past extensive clearing. Linear reserves provide critical wildlife habitat especially when connected to native vegetation remnants and may assist in addressing threats associated with climate change.

Please visit the Roads and Maritime Services website for further information on the REC including publications and fact sheets.

Vegetation in the Murray

Vegetation communities in the NSW Murray catchment broadly reflect the altitude, available moisture and land form gradients across the catchment.

Plant species limited to alpine and montane conditions dominate in the east, but are replaced by other species over a relatively short distance within the South Eastern Highlands or the upper NSW South Western Slopes bioregion, depending on the individual species.

Other changes in vegetation composition occur between the lower NSW South Western Slopes and the Riverina bioregions, and between the Riverina and the Murray–Darling Depression.

The NSW South Western Slopes has its own characteristic species, but also mixes with species more characteristic of the South Eastern Highlands (higher altitudes and more moisture) and the Riverina (lower altitudes and drier).

At the local level, vegetation communities are influenced by the underlying substrates (geology and soils). Some vegetation communities are only found on particular types of soils or geological formations; for example, the tall open forest community of broad‑leaved peppermint (Eucalyptus dives), Norton’s box (Eucalyptus nortonii) and red stringy bark (Eucalyptus macrorhyncha) is found only on red clay on hills.

The effects of land management history can be seen in the landscapes of the central and western catchment. Historical and ongoing land clearing has led to changes in vegetation, such as grasslands and areas of scattered trees replacing forest and woodland.