Protected vegetation definitions
Below are some definitions that may relate to how to you and how you react to protected vegetation. The full list of definitions can be found in Schedule 4 (Dictionary) of the Natural Assets Local Law 2003.
Generally, pruning is the removal of branches and leaves from a tree or shrub for the health or strength of the plant. This does not include the root system of the tree.
Pruning involves the:
- removal of dead, dying and diseased branches
- correction of poorly formed branches (such as crowded branches or poorly tapered branches) to make the tree or shrub structurally sound and to promote new growth.
Other than for Significant Landscape Trees, a maximum of 20% removal of the live foliage volume of a tree is permitted in any 12 month period. Removing any more than this will cause the tree to produce weakened regrowth and may cause it to decline.
Climbing spikes may not be used when pruning protected vegetation.
For more information, download the Applying for a Permit fact sheet.
A heritage tree is a tree which has been protected because of its cultural or natural heritage significance. These trees may be associated with an historical building. Trees may also be solely protected.
The heritage values of the tree may be governed by state or commonwealth legislation. The heritage overlay in the Brisbane City Plan 2014 is a mapped representation of all Brisbane's heritage sites listed on the Queensland Heritage Register and Brisbane's Heritage Register.
If you want to prune or work on a heritage tree, contact Council on 07 3403 8888.
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.
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.
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.
Find out information on significant landscape trees (SLT).
Exemptions do not apply to significant landscape trees, unless it is an emergency. To work on significant landscape tree, you must apply for a permit to work on protected vegetation. You may be requested to include a report from a qualified arborist.
Individual trees or groups of trees may be protected under the Natural Assets Local Law 2003 with a Vegetation Protection Order. The Vegetation Protected Order - Individual Tree (VPO-IT) generally protects trees which:
- are excellent specimens of their species
- have significant landscape or cultural values.
Exemptions do not apply to VPO-IT trees, unless it is an emergency. To work on a tree with a VPO-IT you must apply for a permit to work on protected vegetation with a report from a Level 5 qualified arborist.
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 the Development Assessment Branch by email. You may also be required to amend the development permit and obtain a separate permit to work on protected vegetation.
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 the Development Assessment Branch by email. You may also be required to amend the development permit and obtain a separate permit to work on protected vegetation.