Guidelines. for a Native Vegetation Significant Environmental Benefit Policy for the clearance of scattered trees. Approved August 2007

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1 Guidelines for a Native Vegetation Significant Environmental Benefit Policy for the clearance of scattered trees Approved August 2007

2 WEB LINKS Native Vegetation in South Australia Copy of the Native Vegetation Act native_vegetation Guide to the exemptions in the Native Vegetation Regulations native_vegetation Principles of Clearance Schedule 1 of the Act native_vegetation NatureLinks For further information contact: Native Vegetation Council GPO Box 1047 ADELAIDE SA 5001 Ph: Fax: Page 2

3 Native Vegetation Council Guidelines for a Native Vegetation Significant Environmental Benefit Policy for the Clearance of Scattered Trees PURPOSE The purpose of these Guidelines is to provide guidance for the operation of Section 29(4a) of the Native Vegetation Act 1991, in particular the assessment of applications to clear scattered paddock trees where such clearance would be in contravention of Section 29(1)(b) of the Act. These guidelines extend to the establishment of significant environmental benefits (SEB) for all scattered trees. Their aim is to provide for a transparent and consistent process for determining Significant Environmental Benefit (SEB) requirements. In determining any application for the clearance of scattered trees that in the opinion of the Native Vegetation Council (NVC) is at variance with the principles of clearance, the Council will consider the particular circumstances relevant to that application, including whether the scale, nature and extent of the clearance justify the giving of consent. The Native Vegetation Council has adopted the SEB calculation methodology contained in this document as the appropriate methodology for determining an SEB required to offset clearance of all scattered trees in areas where the original native vegetation consisted of woodland or forest communities. The policy for calculating the SEB requirement for the clearance of mallee trees or shrubs is set out in a separate document. The Guidelines accord with South Australia s Strategic Plan 2007 targets relating to sustainability, the goals of the State Natural Resources Management Plan, the NatureLinks program, species recovery plans and No Species Loss A Nature Conservation Strategy for South Australia BACKGROUND The Native Vegetation Act 1991, provides for the protection, enhancement and management of native vegetation in South Australia. Significant amendments to that Act in 2002 and 2004, and the introduction of the Native Vegetation Regulations have further strengthened the legislation as well as supporting the objective of the Act to encourage landholders to preserve, enhance and properly manage the native vegetation on their properties. The 2004 amendment includes new provisions enabling the Native Vegetation Council (NVC) to consent to the clearance of native vegetation that is, in the opinion of the NVC, 1 The Native Vegetation (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 2002 and the Native Vegetation Regulations 2003 came into operation on 25 August Further amendments made by Schedule 4 of the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 came into operation on 2 September 2004.

4 significantly at variance with the Principles of Clearance 2 (previously not permitted) where, subject to guidelines 3, the NVC is satisfied that a significant environmental benefit (SEB) is to be achieved that outweighs the value of retaining the vegetation, and the particular circumstances justify the giving of consent. This amendment was supported by the Native Vegetation Council, the South Australian Farmers Federation, the Conservation Council of South Australia, the Nature Conservation Society, and the Department for Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation (DWLBC) as a means of supporting reasonable clearance of significant native vegetation, subject to an acceptable SEB. It was recognised that through this process landholders would be encouraged to value and afford, through improved production, to achieve improved biodiversity outcomes. For the purposes of this document, environmental benefit is defined as the gain in, or enhancement of, biodiversity in a region resulting from actions taken by a landowner. The Native Vegetation Council interprets the term Significant Environmental Benefit as gain in, or enhancement of biodiversity, resulting from conditions attached to a particular native vegetation clearance consent, that outweighs the loss incurred as a result of that consent. The Native Vegetation Act 1991 provides that a significant environmental benefit may be achieved by: Establishing and managing native vegetation, Protecting native vegetation, Entering into a heritage agreement, and Payments into the Native Vegetation Fund What constitutes a significant environmental benefit is determined by the Native Vegetation Council in accordance with these guidelines for the clearance of scattered trees. Guidelines will be developed for other situations. In considering the particular circumstances of a clearance application, the NVC must have regard to the net environmental gain expected to result from the proposed SEB in relation to Regional environmental issues (including those identified by the NatureLinks Program, the relevant regional Biodiversity Plan, species recovery plans, and No Species Loss A Nature Conservation Strategy for South Australia ), South Australia s Strategic Plan, and the relevant regional Natural Resources Management Plans These guidelines are based on a fundamental premise of encouraging SEB offsets that provide greater environmental gains. Existing remnants of native vegetation constitute the essential structure of most ecosystems, upon which depend all the diversity of life forms existing naturally here. They are the basis for biodiversity, and provide the preferred focus for native vegetation rehabilitation efforts. Accordingly, the highest value is given to managing intact blocks of native vegetation to maintain habitat and prevent future degradation, provided that such management has the potential to provide substantial environmental gains. These core areas are the building blocks upon which future biodiversity objectives will be met. Improving degraded blocks through, for example, exclusion of grazing, weed control and perhaps strategic planting to improve habitat is valued next highest. 2 The Principles are contained in Schedule 1 of the Native Vegetation Act. See Appendix 6. 3 The guidelines are statutory guidelines prepared and adopted by the NVC under section 25 of the Act. Page 4

5 The third preference is for an offset based on existing remnant trees, which starts with part of the structure (the component that takes the longest to establish) upon which understorey species (which take less time to establish) may be added to create a diverse and valuable habitat. Revegetating cleared land is considered less desirable, because of the time it will take to re-establish useful habitat, than offsets that build on remnant vegetation.. The Guidelines also encourage offsets that achieve a more significant landscape context. Linking or expanding core areas of habitat is encouraged. Accordingly, to encourage landholders to value significant biodiversity assets on a property and to achieve outcomes to reflect the above, offset requirements are reduced to reflect higher biodiversity values. These Guidelines will be reviewed not more than 3 years after their adoption by the Native Vegetation Council, and thereafter at intervals of not more than 3 years, by a review committee comprising nominees of the Council, the Conservation Council of SA, the SA Farmers Federation and DWLBC. The guidelines include (1) a number of guiding and operational principles, and (2) a process for calculating the SEB requirements. GUIDING PRINCIPLES 1. A decision on whether to approve clearance in accordance with section 29(4a) (see appendix 5) will require consideration of: -whether the proposed clearance is at variance with one or more of the other Principles of Clearance provided in the Act (see appendix 6); and -whether the particular circumstances justify the proposed clearance, and-that the SEB outweighs the value of retaining the vegetation 2. In making their decision, the NVC must employ the Precautionary Principle, such that where uncertainty as to whether the SEB will outweigh the clearance exists, clearance should not be approved. 3. The clearance of higher value native vegetation should be offset by a higher SEB. For the purposes of section 29(4a)(b)(i), the greater the value of retaining the native vegetation proposed to be cleared, the greater the factor by which the SEB must outweigh the value of retaining that vegetation. 4. Decision-making in relation to Section 29(4a) should support the highest possible biodiversity outcomes. In evaluating biodiversity outcomes, quality, position in the landscape, and the need for ongoing management of native vegetation must be considered as well as reducing fragmentation of habitat and protecting representatives of different native vegetation communities in each region. 5. Research on the habitat value of scattered trees supports the retention of areas where tree canopy cover exceeds 4% (based upon a 4 ha sample area). The NVC will take this research into account when considering applications. The Council recognises the need to protect and maintain stands of trees of varying age class likely to be found within these areas of higher canopy cover. Consent for clearance within these areas is therefore less likely. Page 5

6 6. The clearance of significant native vegetation will only be considered pursuant to 29(4a) if it has been established that there is no practical alternative that would involve no clearance, or the clearance of less native vegetation, or the clearance of native vegetation that is less significant, or the clearance of native vegetation that has been degraded to a greater extent than the native vegetation proposed to be cleared. 7. The clearance of habitat for a nationally listed endangered species should only be approved in situations where the SEB is recognised as providing significant long term benefit for the recovery of the species. 8. Preference will be given to SEB proposals that aim to establish or protect the same vegetation species/community as that proposed for clearance, unless, in the opinion of the NVC, the SEB results in the conservation of native vegetation that is of higher biodiversity value than the native vegetation proposed for clearance (e.g. accords with State or regional conservation goals eg biodiversity corridors/naturelinks, the regional Biodiversity Plan and/or the Regional Natural Resources Management Plans). This will ensure that vegetation species/communities and, in particular, critical habitats are not systematically degraded or lost from the landscape. 9. Preference will be given to SEB proposals that aim to establish or protect native vegetation around intact habitat (with natural regeneration preferred to revegetation). Where such proposals are not possible, re-establishing native vegetation in degraded remnants (i.e. fencing and allowing natural regeneration) will be preferred to re-establishing native vegetation around scattered trees or the re-establishment of native vegetation on cleared land. 10. Whilst the formulae presented in these guidelines will produce an SEB area, there may be cases, particularly where that SEB area is small, where a better outcome can be achieved by directing payments to contribute towards larger scale strategic biodiversity works. When considering the value of an SEB, the NVC will have regard to the size of the offset including adjacent native vegetation, its shape and its position in the landscape. The NVC encourages the protection of areas of at least 5 hectares in extent. This may include native vegetation on adjacent properties and roadsides. Where the SEB area, including adjacent native vegetation, is relatively small the preference of the Council may be for an SEB to be established through a payment into the Native Vegetation Fund. 11. Council recognises that some species / vegetation communities provide critical habitat for some threatened species. In considering applications relating to these species / communities Council will have regard to any publications and expert advice relating to the protection and management of those threatened species. OPERATING PRINCIPLES 1. In situations where it is not practical for the proponent to achieve an SEB through revegetation, restoration or entering into a heritage agreement, the applicant may seek the approval of the NVC to make a payment into the Native Vegetation Fund of an amount considered by the NVC to be sufficient to achieve a SEB elsewhere in the region. 2. The proponent (seeking approval to clear native vegetation) must demonstrate that the SEB meets or exceeds the requirements of the guidelines, and that offsets do Page 6

7 not include land subject to exemptions under the Native Vegetation Regulations 2003, and are not associated with previous dealings under the Native Vegetation Act or other programs yielding financial or other gain. This can include land where past management practices have encouraged natural regeneration but these areas need to be able to be identified, protected and managed. 3. Off-sets must be maintained and managed in accordance with a native vegetation management plan approved by the NVC and noted against the land title that seeks to establish, restore, or manage native vegetation to achieve an appropriate SEB. The management plan may stipulate among other things, species composition and numbers, spacings and distribution, weed and vermin control, and monitoring of outcomes. The following condition should be attached to all Clearance Consents: The landowner must comply with the terms and requirements of the Management Plan. 4. A proponent may seek the approval of the NVC to establish an SEB on other land held by the landholder, or another landholder in the locality. In such circumstances, the SEB must be subject to an ongoing management plan approved by the NVC that binds successors in title to the land. The NVC will be concerned about the SEB outcomes, not the financial arrangements (if any) between the respective landholders. 5. In situations where SEB proposals exceed the requirement of the guidelines such that the off-set encompasses a larger area than that required by the guidelines, the applicant will receive an SEB credit that may be banked and used to off-set future SEB requirements. 6. An SEB requirement can be met by any of the four SEB off-set options: (i) establish and manage native vegetation on land (approved by the NVC), or (ii) protect native vegetation growing or situated on land (approved by the NVC), or (iii) enter into a heritage agreement with respect to specified native vegetation on land (approved by the Council and Minister), or (iv) In the case where it is not possible for the applicant to achieve a SEB with one of the above options, the applicant may seek to make a payment into the Native Vegetation Fund of an amount considered by the NVC to be sufficient to achieve a SEB in a manner contemplated by the Act. (i), (ii) & (iii) above must be maintained and managed in accordance with a native vegetation management plan approved by the NVC. 7. When dealing with vegetation communities and scattered trees providing habitat for nationally threatened species, eg Buloke woodlands, Council will adopt SEB policies consistent with any publications and expert advice regarding those threatened species. PROCESS FOR DETERMINING SEB REQUIREMENTS To ensure that the SEB results in a better outcome for the environment, the value of each tree (its wildlife habitat score) is multiplied by a factor (numerical value) to achieve an SEB score. The multiplication factors are stepped (increase) to reflect the increasing Page 7

8 biodiversity value of higher value trees. The SEB scores for individual trees are added to determine the total SEB score required to be achieved through an offset. An Offset SEB score per hectare is also determined for the potential offsets that a landholder may propose in order to achieve the SEB. This score is based on the offset s habitat significance and position in the landscape. The area of the offset required is determined by dividing the total SEB score for the trees proposed to be cleared by the Offset SEB point score per hectare. The higher the value of the offset the lower the area of set aside required. This is to recognise and encourage past and present land management practices that have maintained and improved biodiversity assets in the landscape. There are three main steps involved in the process to identify an appropriate SEB offset. Step 1 Calculate Total SEB Requirement of the application Step 3 Determining the most appropriate SEB offset Within each step several calculations are required. Details of the steps are as follows: Step1: Calculate total SEB requirement of application to clear scattered trees Calculating the Total SEB requirement of the application involves the following steps: 1a. Determine the wildlife habitat value (tree score) of each tree proposed for clearance The current NVC endorsed scoring system for scattered trees 4 is used to determine the wildlife habitat value of individual trees to meet the requirements of Principles of Clearance 1(b) 5. The score is based on the following principles, with weightings according to their relative contributions to the overall wildlife habitat value of a tree: large trees provide more resources for wildlife healthy trees live longer and provide more food resources for wildlife hollows provide shelter and habitat for nesting and roosting wildlife trees in clumps or near bushland generally support more wildlife, and trees that provide habitat for threatened species are of higher value. Data is collected on each of the trees to be cleared, for each of the following characteristics: species, height, diameter, radius, canopy, health (also known as dieback), proximity to other vegetation, hollows, density, and habitat potential for threatened fauna species. The characteristics listed in bold are entered into the NVC s Point Scoring System (PSS) to calculate a value for each tree. As a guide, clearance of trees that score above 30 points is considered to be seriously at variance with Principle of Clearance 1(b) Wildlife Habitat. 4 See Cutten, J.L. and M.W. Hodder (2002). Scattered tree clearance assessment in South Australia: streamlining, guidelines for assessment and rural industry extension. Native Vegetation & Biodiversity Management Unit, Urrbrae, South Australia 5 Included in Schedule 1 of the Native Vegetation Act Page 8

9 Clearance of trees that score below 30 points may still be considered at variance with other Principles of Clearance, depending upon the location of the trees in the landscape and species involved. 1b. Calculate SEB requirement for each individual tree To ensure that higher value habitat trees gain a higher value SEB, a multiplication factor is applied to each tree score. This is calculated by multiplying the tree score by the stepped multiplication factor for each tree score. The SEB multiplication factor (SEBMF) increases in relation to the value of the individual tree score (See Table 1 below). The SEBMF reflects the principles in the NVC s current policy Priorities for set-aside areas and the Guidelines for A Native Vegetation Significant Environmental Benefit Policy for the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Industry, that clearance of higher value native vegetation requires higher value offsets. This is particularly important to meet the new provisions of the Act allowing the NVC to approve clearance significantly at variance with the Principles of Clearance, providing there is a significant environmental benefit. Page 9

10 Table 1: SEB Multiplication Factor (see accompanying discussion minute for illustration of the effect of the amendments) SEB Tree Score Multiplication factor < > c Sum SEB requirements for all individual trees The SEB scores for individual trees are summed to determine the total SEB requirement to off-set the proposed clearance using the formula: Total SEB requirement = [ (Tree score 1 x SEBMF 1 ) + (Tree score 2 x SEBMF 2 ) etc ]. Using this formula, the total SEB requirement has been calculated for the example trees in Table 2. Table 2. Stepped SEB requirement multiplication factor (SEBMF) applying to individual tree scores Example of SEB score Tree Score SEBMF actual tree score requirement for example tree < > Total SEB requirement for example trees 1,810 Step 2: Calculate offset SEB point score per hectare To recognise and encourage off-sets of a more strategic value for biodiversity outcomes, a relative point score per hectare for offsets is determined. This point score is used to identify set-asides of an appropriate value to offset the proposed clearance of native vegetation. The point score per hectare is based on a stepped numerical rating score attributed to the offsets habitat significance and its position in the landscape relative to other native vegetation. 2a Habitat Significance Rating of offset The Habitat Significance Rating (HSR) is used to differentiate between the biodiversity significance of potential offsets. There are six categories, which are based on the offset s relative habitat significance. Appendix 1 describes the criteria for each HSR category. Page 10

11 A stepped rating score is assigned to each HSR category (see table 3). A higher rating score is attributed to offsets which have relatively higher biodiversity significance eg intact native vegetation, habitat for threatened species, and areas of greater species diversity. The rating score is used in the calculation to determine a point score per hectare (see step 2c). Table 3. Habitat Significance Rating and corresponding (stepped) numerical score (see Appendix 1 for category criteria) Habitat Significance Rating (HSR) Category A 400 Category B 375 Category C 350 Category D 325 Category E 300 Category F 275 2b Landscape Context Rating of offset Numerical HSR rating score The Landscape Context Rating (LCR) is used to differentiate between most and less preferred location of offsets within the landscape relative to existing native vegetation. The purpose of this is to encourage the strategic positioning of offsets that will enhance the biodiversity value to the overall landscape. There are three categories of LCR used. The criteria for each LCR category are described in Appendix 2. A stepped rating score is assigned to each LCR, (see table 4). A higher rating score is attributed to offsets that by virtue of their position in the landscape will contribute to a relatively higher biodiversity value in the landscape eg located close to existing native vegetation, connects significant remnants, located in a priority area of a region etc. The rating score is used in the calculation to determine a point score per hectare (see step 2c). Table 4. Landscape Context Rating and corresponding (stepped) numerical score (see Appendix 2 for category criteria) Landscape Context Numerical LCR rating Rating (LCR) score Good 2.5 Moderate 2.25 Low 2 2c Determining Offset SEB Point Score per hectare The Offset SEB point score per hectare is calculated by multiplying the habitat significance rating by the landscape context rating. (see also example Table 5): Off-set SEB point score/ha = (Habitat Significance Rating x Landscape Context Rating) Page 11

12 Table 5. Example of determining Offset SEB point score/ha Habitat Rating Significance Option 1 Category A (400) Option 2 Category C (350) Landscape Context Rating Good (2.5) Low (2.0) Offset SEB point score/ha 1, STEP 3 DETERMINING THE MOST APPROPRIATE SEB OFFSET 3a. Calculate the SEB Offset Area Required Determining the area required to meet Total SEB requirement is calculated by dividing the Total SEB requirement by the Offset SEB point score per hectare (see also example Table 6): SEB off-set area required = Total SEB requirement Offset SEB point score per hectare The point score per hectare influences the area needed to meet the SEB requirement. A higher point score per hectare will result in a smaller area requirement. As demonstrated in Table 6, Offset Option 1, which has a higher point score per hectare requires a smaller SEB off-set area than Offset Option 2. Determining the most suitable SEB offset to meet SEB requirement will be the result of a negotiated process between the landholder and the NVC. Table 6. Example of determining the area required to meet the total SEB requirement Offset options Formula SEB off-set area required Option 1 1, ha 1,000 Option 2 1, ha 700 3b Potential SEB Offset credits Where the landholder agrees to an SEB offset that exceeds the total SEB requirement, the additional area or SEB points will be regarded as a credit for future SEB needs. This is demonstrated in Table 7. If we assume that offset options 1 and 2 (as in the example) are both 5 hectares in area, the total SEB requirement will be met by either option. Note that the value of the credit needs to be recalculated at the time that the credit is extinguished. This will include the reassessment of the Habitat Significance Rating and the Landscape Context Rating of the credit area. Page 12

13 To calculate the potential SEB credits use one of the following formulas as shown below and demonstrated in Table 7: Potential SEB off-set credit area = (Area of potential SEB off-set SEB off-set area required) Alternatively, this could be considered in terms of the potential off-set credit points as shown by the following formula: Potential SEB off-set = (Total points available for off-set Total SEB off-set credit points requirement ) Table 7. Example of determining the potential SEB off-set credit that exceeds the total SEB requirement Offset options (Area, points) Option 1 SEB off-set area (points) required 5 ha 1.81 ha (5,000 (1,810 points) points) Potential SEB off-set credit 3.19 ha (3,190 points) Option 2 5 ha 2.59 ha 2.41 ha (3,500 points) (1,810 points) (1,690 points) SUMMARY OF PROCESS A flow chart summarising the above process is included in Appendix 3. An alternative flow chart is provided in Appendix 4. Use this flow chart to calculate the offset SEB points available in a known area. MANAGEMENT OF OFFSETS Off-sets must be maintained and managed in accordance with a native vegetation management plan approved by the NVC that seeks to establish, restore, or manage native vegetation to achieve an appropriate SEB outcome. The management plan may stipulate among other things, species composition and numbers, spacings and distribution, weed and vermin control, and monitoring of outcomes. The landholder may seek independent advice from an accredited consultant, particularly a person with revegetation expertise) to develop the plan. Page 13

14 TRADING OFFSETS It is intended that a process be developed to allow a landholder to trade offsets to another landholder in the district where this will achieve a better biodiversity outcome. For example, it may facilitate an offset that achieves a better landscape context and meet with strategic outcomes proposed by a regional Natural Resources Management (NRM) plan, for example. HERITAGE AGREEMENTS An applicant may choose to enter into a heritage agreement to achieve a SEB. The agreement must be maintained and managed in accordance with a management plan, approved by the NVC, that ensures an environmental gain that outweighs the environmental loss resulting from the clearance. PAYMENTS TO THE NATIVE VEGETATION FUND In situations where it is not practical for the proponent to achieve an SEB through revegetation, restoration or entering into a heritage agreement, the applicant may seek approval of the NVC to make a payment into a Native Vegetation Fund of an amount considered by the NVC to be sufficient to achieve a SEB elsewhere in the region. Page 14

15 APPENDICES APPENDIX 1. HABITAT SIGNIFICANCE RATING (HSR) OF OFF-SETS In recognition of the potential variance within an offset area the HSR (A, B, C, D, E or F) category should be assigned based on the most dominant HSR category present in the offset area. In some circumstances, particularly where more than one offset area is used, potential offset areas should be considered separately. Category (score) Habitat Significance Criteria Vegetation community that as compared with the original vegetation has: A (400) high species diversity - consistent with original vegetation tallest layer of vegetation intact and in a healthy condition understorey vegetation in a healthy condition and intact (> 70% total cover of native species, natural bare ground and native litter, moss etc) low presence of exotic species / weeds (< 5% total cover) B (375) Vegetation community that as compared with the original vegetation has: Moderate species diversity Tallest layer of vegetation largely intact Understorey moderately disturbed (40-70% total cover of native species, natural bare ground and native litter, moss etc) Exotic species /weeds may be present in high density in some areas but present in low density elsewhere Indigenous revegetation - that is greater than 5 years old, well maintained and structurally diverse, and contains species considered by the NVC to have a high environmental value and/or C (350) Vegetation community that as compared with the original vegetation has: Low species diversity Tallest layer of vegetation largely intact, Understorey present but highly modified (<40% total cover of native species, natural bare ground and native litter, moss etc) Exotic species /weeds may be present in a high density through out the area Page 15

16 Category (score) Habitat Significance Criteria Scattered trees (greater than 4% cover over 4 hectares) D (325) E (300) Scattered trees (up to 4% cover per 4 hectares) - scattered trees present naturally occurring indigenous trees... that occur over little or no native understorey, and with a spatial arrangement varying from that considered to be close to the original distribution (pre-european settlement) Cutten and Hodder, (2002) and/or Indigenous revegetation that is less than 5 years old, well maintained and structurally diverse No native vegetation present within set-aside or F (275) An isolated tree as defined by the Native Vegetation Act 1991 a plant that is at least 1m in height and there is no other plant comprising native vegetation that is 200 mm or more in height within 50m of it or Native revegetation that is a monoculture (other than where it is representative of the original vegetation) Page 16

17 APPENDIX 2: LANDSCAPE CONTEXT RATING (LCR) OF OFFSETS Category Landscape Context Criteria Satisfies one or more of the following points: A part of or within 100m of a core area of native vegetation (of 2ha or more) Good (2.5) Substantially the area is 100m (or greater) wide at narrowest point Connects 2 or more areas of remnant vegetation, where one remnant has an area of at least 2 ha and the other has an area of no less than 1ha Provides a vital linkage across associations or the region Located within a priority area as identified by a regional biodiversity plan, NRM plan or a biodiversity recovery plan Moderate (2.25) Satisfies one or more of the following points: Located between 100 and 500 meters from a core area of native vegetation (of 2ha or more) Substantially the area is between 100 and 40 meters wide at its narrowest point Satisfies one or more of the following points: Low (2) Located more than 500 meters from a core area of native vegetation (of 2ha or more) Substantially the area is 40m (or less) wide at its narrowest point Page 17

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20 APPENDIX 5. EXCERPT FROM SECTION 29 OF THE NATIVE VEGETATION ACT 29 Provisions relating to consent (1) Subject to this section, in deciding whether to consent to an application to clear native vegetation, the Council (4a) (a) (b) (a) (b)... must have regard to the principles of clearance of native vegetation so far as they are relevant to that decision; and must not make a decision that is seriously at variance with those principles. The Council may give its consent to the clearance of native vegetation that is in contravention of subsection (1)(b) if... the Council has adopted guidelines under section 25 that apply in relation to the region where the native vegetation is situated (being guidelines envisaged under subsection (1)(c) of that section); and the Council is satisfied (i) (ii) that a significant environmental benefit, which outweighs the value of retaining the vegetation, is to be achieved through the imposition of conditions and the taking of other action by the applicant; and that the particular circumstances justify the giving of consent. Page 20

21 APPENDIX 6: SCHEDULE 1 OF THE NATIVE VEGETATION ACT PRINCIPLES OF NATIVE VEGETATION CLEARANCE 1 Principles of clearance of native vegetation Native vegetation should not be cleared if, in the opinion of the Council (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i) (j) (k) (l) (m) 2 Interpretation it comprises a high level of diversity of plant species; or it has significance as a habitat for wildlife; or it includes plants of a rare, vulnerable or endangered species; or the vegetation comprises the whole, or a part, of a plant community that is rare, vulnerable or endangered; or it is significant as a remnant of vegetation in an area which has been extensively cleared; or it is growing in, or in association with, a wetland environment; or it contributes significantly to the amenity of the area in which it is growing or is situated; or the clearance of the vegetation is likely to contribute to soil erosion or salinity in an area in which appreciable erosion or salinisation has already occurred or, where such erosion or salinisation has not yet occurred, the clearance of the vegetation is likely to cause appreciable soil erosion or salinity; or the clearance of the vegetation is likely to cause deterioration in the quality of surface or underground water; or the clearance of the vegetation is likely to cause, or exacerbate, the incidence or intensity of flooding; or (i) (ii) after clearance the land will be used for a particular purpose; and the regional NRM board for the NRM region where the land is situated has, as part of its NRM plan under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004, assessed (A) (B) the capability and preferred uses of the land; and the condition of the land; and (iii) according to that assessment the use of the land for that purpose cannot be sustained; or the clearance of the vegetation would cause significant harm to the River Murray within the meaning of the River Murray Act 2003; or the clearance of vegetation would cause significant harm to the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary. In this Schedule, unless the contrary intention appears endangered species means a species of plant for the time being appearing in Part 2 of Schedule 7 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972; Page 21

22 plant community means plants of a species indigenous to South Australia growing in association with one another and forming a group that is distinct from other plant communities; rare species means a species of plant for the time being appearing in Part 2 of Schedule 9 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972; vulnerable species means a species of plant for the time being appearing in Part 2 of Schedule 8 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972; wildlife has the same meaning as in the National Parks and Wildlife Act Page 22

23 References Croft T. and Carpenter G. (2001 update unpublished) Biological Resources of the South East of South Australia. Department for Environment and Heritage Cutten, J. and Hodder, M (2002), Scattered Tree Clearance Assessment in South Australia: Streamlining, Guidelines for Assessment, and Rural Industry Extension, Biodiversity Assessments Section, Department for Environment and Heritage, South Australia Hurrell, Bea (2005 Incomplete Draft), - Intact assessment process for understorey, Native Vegetation and Biodiversity Management Unit, Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation, South Australia Milne, T., Croft, S. and Pedler, J. (2003 Working Draft 1), Bushland condition Assessment Monitoring Manual Section 1: Field Guide to Monitoring, Nature Conservation Society of SA Native Vegetation Council, (1998 internal minute to assessment officers), Assessment of Heritage Agreement Conservation Values. Neagle, N. (1995) An Update of the Conservation Status of the Major Plant Associations of South Australia. Native Vegetation Conservation section, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, South Australia Native Vegetation Act 1991 Native Vegetation Regulations 2003 National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 Oliver and Parkes, 2003, A prototype tool kit for scoring the biodiversity benefits of landuse change, DIPNR (NSW) Page 23

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