Queensland tree growth increases 437,000 hectares

Tree coverage in Queensland has increased by almost twice the size of the ACT in just three years as farmers battle to meet a growing demand for local high-quality food and fibre.

AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said a study by farmers showed State Government Ministers and green groups were ignoring data behind vegetation management.

“The fact is that trees grow, and right now they are re-growing at a much faster rate than they are being managed,” Mr Maudsley said.

“The State Government’s own data, shows that tree coverage in Queensland increased by 437,000 hectares between 2012-to-2014.

“Moves by the State Government to reject simple data and repeal the current vegetation management laws are the biggest threat to Queensland farmers since the Gillard Government smashed the cattle export trade in 2011.

“The results for Queensland consumers will be more expensive fresh produce and loss of jobs. Meat processors have already started putting off staff because of a slow-down in domestic cattle supply as Australia’s cattle herd hits a 20-year low.”

The Statewide Landcover and Trees Study shows clearing rates increased to 296,000 hectares in 2013-14. Despite the clearing, the amount of tree coverage still increased by 437,000 hectares.

The study also shows that retained woody vegetation cover has increased from 74 per cent to 76 per cent across the 52 million hectares that make up the crucial six reef catchment regions.

Mr Maudsley said AgForce members and local residents will meet in Mareeba next week to discuss the impact of changes to vegetation management on Far North Queensland’s economy.

“Attempts to link tree coverage to law changes which occurred after the reporting period is some of the most deceitful and dishonest advocacy I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Farmers are using the current laws to manage the regrowth generated by above-average wet years during 2010 to 2012.

“Queensland landholders should not be subjected to punitive laws, promoted by State politicians who fail to back up their claims with scientific evidence.”

Tree coverage increased in 51 of 77 council areas across Queensland with significant increases in Far North and North West Queensland, including Cook Shire (an additional 237,000 hectares), Carpentaria (229,000 hectares), Burke (85,000 hectares) and Mareeba (40,000 hectares).

This was offset by reductions in vegetation in Desert Channels and South Western Queensland due to drought and mulga being used as cattle feed. The largest reductions occurred in Paroo Shire (256,000 hectares), Barcoo (166,000 hectares) and Boulia (146,000 hectares).

Local Government Area

Total Area (,000)

Total Area Wooded 2011-12

Total Area Wooded 2013-14

Change (,000)

Aurukun Shire Council

733.00

677.51

684.92

7.40

Balonne Shire Council

3,111.00

1,142.67

1,029.12

-113.55

Banana Shire Council

2,855.00

1,458.05

1,511.15

53.10

Barcaldine Regional Council

5,338.00

2,186.98

2,072.21

-114.77

Barcoo Shire Council

6,183.00

1,143.24

976.30

-166.94

Blackall-Tambo Regional Council

3,054.00

1,281.15

1,233.82

-47.34

Boulia Shire Council

6,097.00

888.94

742.00

-146.94

Brisbane City Council

134.00

103.11

109.53

6.42

Bulloo Shire Council

7,372.00

911.18

855.15

-56.03

Bundaberg Regional Council

643.00

452.67

488.62

35.94

Burdekin Shire Council

501.00

194.04

217.08

23.05

Burke Shire Council

4,009.00

2,879.26

2,964.25

84.99

Cairns Regional Council

169.00

129.00

131.19

2.20

Carpentaria Shire Council

6,412.00

4,489.68

4,719.23

229.55

Cassowary Coast Regional Council

469.00

356.44

362.63

6.19

Central Highlands Regional Council

5,983.00

3,341.51

3,448.60

107.10

Charters Towers Regional Council

6,838.00

5,160.64

5,270.73

110.09

Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council

3.00

2.49

2.53

0.05

Cloncurry Shire Council

4,797.00

1,905.85

2,051.68

145.83

Cook Shire Council

10,572.00

10,023.31

10,261.18

237.87

Croydon Shire Council

2,950.00

2,635.24

2,665.03

29.80

Diamantina Shire Council

9,468.00

431.74

478.13

46.39

Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council

182.00

155.72

156.07

0.35

Etheridge Shire Council

3,923.00

3,597.00

3,584.05

-12.95

Flinders Shire Council

4,120.00

2,049.29

2,050.52

1.24

Fraser Coast Regional Council

710.00

594.91

618.55

23.64

Gladstone Regional Council

1,047.00

793.10

848.38

55.28

Gold Coast City Council

132.00

91.36

96.18

4.82

Goondiwindi Regional Council

1,928.00

755.39

790.67

35.28

Gympie Regional Council

689.00

493.32

533.42

40.10

Hinchinbrook Shire Council

280.00

181.44

187.91

6.47

Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council

111.00

102.25

101.85

-0.40

Ipswich City Council

109.00

64.46

67.70

3.24

Isaac Regional Council

5,870.00

3,168.63

3,230.85

62.22

Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council

252.00

165.89

174.08

8.19

Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council

357.00

352.86

353.68

0.82

Lockyer Valley Regional Council

227.00

146.37

151.11

4.74

Logan City Council

96.00

75.12

79.62

4.50

Longreach Regional Council

4,057.00

1,074.70

1,017.09

-57.61

Mackay Regional Council

780.00

531.49

548.65

17.16

Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council

49.00

44.32

45.11

0.80

Maranoa Regional Council

5,870.00

3,062.97

2,923.85

-139.12

McKinlay Shire Council

4,073.00

1,008.88

1,007.25

-1.63

Moreton Bay Regional Council

204.00

147.92

164.32

16.40

Mornington Shire Council

120.00

103.52

100.42

-3.11

Mount Isa City Council

4,327.00

2,179.08

2,097.73

-81.35

Murweh Shire Council

4,070.00

2,521.37

2,409.85

-111.52

Napranum Aboriginal Shire Council

198.00

190.18

193.55

3.37

North Burnett Regional Council

1,967.00

1,321.43

1,380.83

59.40

Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council

102.00

94.10

95.23

1.13

Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council

7.00

6.56

6.77

0.21

Paroo Shire Council

4,761.00

2,490.96

2,234.81

-256.14

Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council

438.00

339.84

350.53

10.69

Quilpie Shire Council

6,742.00

2,327.34

2,255.20

-72.14

Redland City Council

54.00

44.49

46.46

1.98

Richmond Shire Council

2,658.00

1,023.33

961.93

-61.40

Rockhampton Regional Council

655.00

368.83

404.27

35.44

Scenic Rim Regional Council

424.00

263.73

271.02

7.29

Somerset Regional Council

537.00

348.84

366.77

17.94

South Burnett Regional Council

838.00

460.65

485.29

24.64

Southern Downs Regional Council

711.00

400.36

399.72

-0.64

Sunshine Coast Regional Council

226.00

164.66

180.03

15.37

Tablelands Regional Council

1,129.00

1,052.34

1,060.58

8.24

Toowoomba Regional Council

1,296.00

477.71

493.52

15.81

Torres Shire Council

90.00

79.73

82.22

2.48

Torres Strait Island Regional Council

48.00

28.00

41.02

13.02

Townsville City Council

373.00

254.80

266.96

12.16

Western Downs Regional Council

3,794.00

1,496.73

1,569.20

72.47

Whitsunday Regional Council

2,383.00

1,481.03

1,519.40

38.37

Winton Shire Council

5,381.00

1,061.13

1,102.03

40.90

Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council

39.00

27.79

29.26

1.47

Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council

1.00

0.99

0.99

0.00

Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council

16.00

15.76

15.90

0.14

Douglas Shire Council

242.00

229.63

230.60

0.97

Livingstone Shire Council

1,170.00

821.81

862.52

40.72

Mareeba Shire Council

5,345.00

4,947.33

4,986.89

39.55

Noosa Shire Council

87.00

64.68

70.92

6.25

172,986.00

87,140.80

87,578.44

437.64

This post was written by
AgForce has been the unifying voice for Queensland's beef, sheep and grain producers since 1999. Our strength continues through our membership and a strategic vision to secure the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the agribusiness sector.

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