Types of protected vegetation
All vegetation protected under the Natural Assets Local Law 2003 (NALL) falls into one of four categories, Council vegetation, waterway and wetland vegetation, significant urban vegetation and significant native vegetation.
Protected vegetation categories
The NALL categories make it easier for property owners to understand what vegetation is protected and why.
When vegetation is protected under the NALL it includes protection of the trunk, the canopy, foliage, flowers and the root zone. Even if the landowner does not have the trunk of the tree growing on their property they may still be an “affected person (Word - 209kb) ” under the NALL.
Your property may have protected vegetation if it:
- is located near or in the Brisbane River or a waterway corridor
- is located in a bushland area or rural area
- contains large individual trees in an urban area
- has heritage values.
Council does not target land or residents in any way when identifying significant vegetation for protection under the NALL. Trees are identified regardless of the current land use or proposed future land use.
As well as vegetation protected under the NALL, vegetation can also be retained through development conditions, heritage provisions or covenant conditions.
The four protection categories are Council Vegetation, Waterway and Wetland Vegetation, Significant Native Vegetation and Significant Urban Vegetation.
All vegetation on land that is owned, controlled or occupied by Council is protected. Vegetation protected under this category includes street trees, vegetation in natural areas and trees in parks.
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These environments help capture, store and move water across the city. They provide important linkages between habitat areas for native wildlife and help maintain water quality. Waterways and wetlands in Brisbane do not always contain permanent water, they can be natural or man-made and may have environments that range from freshwater to salt water.
If your property contains waterway and wetland vegetation, and you are planning to prune or remove vegetation, you may need to apply for a permit.
All native vegetation in areas mapped as Significant Native Vegetation is protected under the NALL. Significant native vegetation includes native vegetation, from small ground covers and native grasses to large trees.
This protection category includes:
- native vegetation that has ecological value and provides important habitat or is a food source for wildlife.
- native plant species that are unique to the region and state, such as hoop pines that were once part of rainforest communities that covered parts of Brisbane.
- native vegetation contributing to the preservation of natural landforms, bushlands, ridgelines and steep slopes.
- trees, shrubs, groundcovers and vines including dead trees or hollow logs, that collectively provide important habitat for wildlife.
- native vegetation communities such as Melaleuca wetlands and rainforests that provide unique and valuable habitat for fauna species.
The long-term survival of many fauna species is dependent on the vegetation contained within these ecosystems being protected. If your property contains Significant Native Vegetation, and you are planning to prune or remove vegetation, you may need to apply for a permit.
This category protects vegetation, both native and exotic, on private property that is generally mature and/or prominent in the landscape, or has specific historical or cultural value in Brisbane. Vegetation protected under this category may also preserve biodiversity values and natural landforms. Significant urban vegetation can be located over an entire property or be an individual tree or small group of trees.
Some trees within this protection category are specifically identified as significant landscape trees under the NALL and have different permit requirements. You can find out more about applying for a permit. Significant landscape trees include individual trees or groups of trees that:
- are protected by an existing Council issued Vegetation Protection Order Individual Tree (VPO-IT) or Vegetation Protection Order Group of Trees (VPO-GT) or
- are listed or mapped in the SLT Overlay code of the Planning Scheme, the SLT Overlay map in the Planning Scheme or
- are a specific species and size (listed in Schedule 2 of the Natural Assets Local Law 2003) and located in the Emerging Community (EC) zone of the Planning Scheme.
Protected vegetation and preparing for storm and bushfire season
If you have protected vegetation on your property you can still prepare for storm and bushfire season. If you are proposing any damage to or removal of protected vegetation, firstly check if what you propose is exempt under the NALL or if you need to apply for a permit. Find out more about being prepared for storms and bushfire season.