The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 commenced on 25 August 2017 visit Biodiversity Offset Scheme.

The information on this page only remains relevant for savings and transitional arrangements under former legislation and policy. Visit Biodiversity Offset Scheme Transitional Arrangements for more information.

Vegetation Information System (VIS)

The NSW Vegetation Information System (VIS) provides the NSW Government, its clients and the community with a central authoritative repository for native vegetation data.

The VIS is made up of a number of separate components arranged under three topics that provide an authoritative source of information on native vegetation in NSW. These include the:

  • VIS Classification database which provides an unambiguous master community-level classification
  • VIS Flora Survey database which is a central, authoritative database for systematic vegetation survey data in NSW
  • VIS Maps module which provides access to existing mapping information on native vegetation

VIS Classification database

Information on plant community types (PCT) and their relationship to a vegetation formation and vegetation class is managed and maintained in the VIS Classification database. PCTs were developed as an unambiguous master community-level classification and consolidated two existing vegetation classifications:

  • the NSW Vegetation Classification and Assessment database (Benson 2006 & 2008; Benson et al. 2006 & 2010), and
  • the Biometric Vegetation Types database (as used in NSW regulatory processes including BioBanking and the Environmental Outcomes Assessment Methodology)

The VIS Classification database provides an operational hierarchy where information about PCTs and their relationship to vegetation formations and classes (Keith 2004) are described.

A per cent cleared estimate is provided for each plant community type within the relevant major catchment area. The database also includes information on whether the plant community type is likely to be an Endangered or Critically Endangered Ecological Community (CEEC/EEC), or part of a CEEC/EEC, and the name of the CEEC/EEC that it is associated with.

Vegetation Benchmarks

The vegetation benchmarks for each plant community is contained within the VIS Classification database. Benchmarks are predominantly available by vegetation class for each major catchment area. A benchmark for a vegetation class may cover many plant community types.

Benchmarks are quantitative measures that describe the range of variability in condition of vegetation with relatively little evidence of alteration, disturbance or modification by humans since European settlement. Vegetation with relatively little evidence of modification generally has minimal timber harvesting (few stumps, coppicing, cut logs), minimal firewood collection, minimal exotic weed cover, minimal grazing and trampling by introduced herbivores or over-abundant herbivores, minimal soil disturbance, minimal canopy dieback, no evidence of recent fire or flood, not subject to high-frequency burning, and positive evidence of recruitment of native species.

Keith, D. (2004) Ocean shores to desert dunes: the native vegetation of New South Wales and the ACT. NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, Hurstville.

Threatened Species Profile Database

The Threatened Species Profile Database (TSPD) provides a detailed profile on each threatened species, population and ecological community in NSW. It also contains other information that is used in the BioBanking Assessment Methodology. This information is used to:

  • determine the likely presence of threatened species at a site
  • determine species survey requirements
  • identify areas with high biodiversity conservation values
  • calculate the ecosystem or species credits that are required for a development site, or created at a biobank site.

The TSPD can be searched by a catchment management authority region, an IBRA sub-region, or a plant community type to review the threatened species, populations or communities associated with that area.

The TSPD is a module of the Atlas of NSW Wildlife (accessable through NSW Bionet by clicking the "TS profiles" tab). NSW Bionet provides public access to the most up-to-date information used in BioBanking to assess threatened species. Users can generate and download reports that list all species and the characteristics used in a BioBanking assessment, such as those used to predict the likely presence of a species, its response to management actions and survey requirements.

You must be registered to access the Atlas system. If you have registered, you can login here. Alternatively, new users may apply for a login to the Atlas system.

The Guide to the BioBanking Threatened Species Profile Database (PDF 42KB) provides an explanation of the fields in the TSPD and how they are used in the Credit Calculator.

Mitchell Landscapes

Mitchell landscapes are areas of land with relatively homogenous geomorphology, soils and broad vegetation types which have been mapped at 1:250,000 scale. Each Mitchell landscape includes an estimate of the percent of native vegetation that has been cleared within the landscape. More information on Mitchell Landscapes can be obtained from BioMetric.

To download a copy of the Mitchell Landscapes GIS layer, please visit the OEH data download site.

Important Wetlands

The FBA and BBAM 2014 refer to wetlands listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (DIWA) and SEPP 14 Coastal wetlands. DIWA provides a substantial knowledge base of what defines wetlands, their variety, and the many flora and fauna species that depend on them.

SEPP 14 Coastal wetland data is available from Open Data.

Biodiversity Investment Spatial Viewer (BISV)

The Biodiversity Investment Spatial Viewer can be used to locate existing biobanking sites, view other existing conservation commitments, preform land area calculations and provide access to information layers like Strahler Stream Order and Mitchell Landscapes.

Page last updated: 28 August 2017