Why is Native Vegetation Important?
Native vegetation includes not just the trees but the equally important (but often overlooked) understorey, small trees, shrubs, grasses and herbs. Often the most unique plants are found in the understorey.
If we protect native vegetation we can help to:
- Maintain the characteristic landscapes of our Shire.
- Provide habitat for wildlife and birds.
- Provide wildlife corridors along roadsides and watercourses.
- Ensure plant and animal variety (biodiversity) is maintained.
- Form shelter belts which protect stock and crops from extreme weather (improving productivity.)
- Hold soil together preventing wind and water erosion.
- Protect water quality.
- Reduce the greenhouse effect.
- Promote environmentally sustainable development.
- Promote heritage values.
- Allow future generations to enjoy our unique native vegetation and wildlife.
I want to plant native vegetation on my property can you please give me some advice?
A list of suggested species, based on your property’s soil type is available on request from the Shire.
In addition to considering the location and species to plant, you should also consider what site preparation is required prior to planting and how much maintenance will be needed in order to give your plants the best chance of surviving. It is best to plant most native species after the first winter rains (between May-July), but you need to be organised well before. Be sure to consider the following:
- Order your plants from your local native nursery around November or December for the next planting season. NIASA (Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia) accredited nurseries must maintain strict hygiene standards to avoid the spread of diseases like dieback.
- Control weeds and pests, such as grasshoppers.
- Consider fencing around your vegetation area, particularly if you have horses or other stock.
- Plough, rip or rotary hoe your planting lines to help break up the soil and weeds, and mound after the first rains if the area is low-lying.
- You may want to use tree guards to protect seedlings.
- After you have planted your seedlings, keep an eye out for pests and make sure weed growth does not take over your plants and remove tree guards by the time the plants grow out the top.
If you are required to plant vegetation or conduct landscaping as a condition of subdivision or planning approval, you will need to provide a landscaping plan and should consult the Shire of Murray Vegetation Management Policy, and accompanying Landscape Protection Note for guidance. Both of these documents are available from the Shire. You should also consider engaging a reputable local environmental consultant to prepare and implement your revegetation or landscape planting plan.
What do I need to do if I want to clear vegetation on my property?
Clearing of Native Vegetation is regulated by the Department of Environment & Conservation’s Native Vegetation Protection Branch, although there are some exemptions. Please contact the Department of Environment & Conservation to determine if you require a permit for clearing.
More information on clearing of Native Vegetation and the Permit process are available online at the Department of Environment Regulation Website.
In addition to this, if you live in certain Special Rural or Special Use Zoned areas, you may require prior written approval from the Council to clear trees and other indigenous vegetation. This is in order to conserve the landscape and rural nature of these areas. Generally, clearing of vegetation without sufficient justification is discouraged and you may be required to undertake planting in other areas to “offset” your clearing. Please contact the Shire for more information.
There is a new document called ‘Swan Bioplan’, how does that affect my property?
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has released the Environmental Protection Bulletin No. 12 – Swan Bioplan – Peel Regionally Significant Natural Areas in December 2010. That document and additional mapping identifies remnant native vegetation in the Swan Coastal Plain area of the Peel Region. Vegetation is classified as ‘remnant vegetation’, ‘Peel Regionally Significant Natural Areas on public land’ and ‘Peel Regionally Significant Natural Areas on private land’. Landscape, habitat and flora are the additional aspects covered by the Swan Bioplan project, while wetlands and fauna are covered by other EPA mechanisms.
More information can be found on the Environmental Protection Authority’s Website.