Protected vegetation definitions

Below are some definitions that may assist you to understand some of the different types of protected vegetation in Brisbane. 

Heritage tree

A heritage tree is a tree which has been protected because of its cultural or natural heritage significance. Protection may apply to an individual tree or to more than one tree. These tree(s) may be associated with an historical building or have significant cultural values. 

The heritage values of the tree may be governed by state or commonwealth legislation. The heritage overlay in the Brisbane City Plan 2014  (City Plan) is a mapped representation of all Brisbane's heritage sites listed on the Queensland Heritage Register and the Local Heritage Register.

If you want to prune or work on a heritage tree, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Tidal vegetation

Tidal vegetation is any vegetation which falls within the tidal zone of a waterway or wetland and is affected by tidal waters. This primarily refers to mangroves, regardless of their size or age. It also protects:

  • salt water couch and other wetland or waterway grasses and groundcovers
  • some larger shrubs and trees.

To carry out any work on tidal vegetation you will need to apply for a permit from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, phone 13 25 23.

Waterways and wetlands

Waterway corridors

Areas designated as waterway corridors under the Natural Assets Local Law 2003 currently align with waterway corridors shown in the City Plan 2014 Waterways Corridor overlay map.

Locations of waterway corridors may change as the City Plan is updated.

Waterway corridors include the Brisbane River Corridor, creek corridors and other water courses.

Wetlands

Areas designated as wetlands under the Natural Assets Local Law 2003 currently align with wetlands shown in City Plan 2014 wetlands overlay map.

They are permanently or intermittently covered by water.

Wetlands extend to the seaward boundary of the coastal vegetation line and include areas of marine water that are less than six metres deep at low tide. They may be:

  • natural or artificial
  • static or slow flowing
  • fresh, brackish or saline.

They may include:

  • waterlogged soils
  • ponds, billabongs and lakes
  • forest swamps and marsh swamps
  • tidal flats, salt marsh, seagrass, estuaries
  • flood plains.

Artificial wetlands include Stormwater Quality Improvement Devices, farm dams, sand extraction sites and detention basins.

To work on waterway or wetlands protected vegetation, outside of the exemptions, you must apply for a permit to work on protected vegetation.

Development approval conditions

Vegetation can be protected by conditions of a development approval. For example, for some subdivisions to be approved certain trees or areas of vegetation must be retained.

On some properties a specific area is designated for house construction to maximise the amount of vegetation left on the property. These conditions belong to the land regardless of whether the property changes ownership.

To work on vegetation protected by development approval conditions, you must obtain written approval from Development Services by email. You may also be required to amend the development permit and obtain a separate permit to work on protected vegetation.

Covenant

A covenant is:

  • a type of legal agreement which can set restrictions on a piece of land
  • issued under the Land Titles Act 1994 (for more information refer to Division 4A Covenants within the Land Titles Act 1994).

The restrictions imposed by a covenant exist regardless of the property owner.

A covenant can restrict the removal of vegetation while also requiring that the owner enhances the property's vegetation with planting and weed management.

A covenant may be set as a part of development approval conditions made during the subdivision stage.

To work on vegetation protected by a covenant you must obtain written approval from Development Services by email. You may also be required to amend the development permit and obtain a separate permit to work on protected vegetation.

Last updated: 21 September 2021

Brisbane City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and their unique relationship with their ancestral country. We pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of Brisbane, and recognise their strength and wisdom.