Transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory Map

The transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory Map is prepared by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment under Part 5A of the amended Local Land Services Act 2013 and supporting regulation.

What is the Native Vegetation Regulatory map?

The Local Land Services Act 2013 (LLS Act) categorises land to determine native vegetation management options for landholders. Some vegetation management needs approval and some do not.

The transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory (NVR) Map tool can be used by landholders to display the most critical land categories, at a property scale, during the transitional period. It essentially tells you where the land management code and allowable activities are either limited or not available.

The transitional NVR Map currently displays category 2 – vulnerable regulated land, category 2 – sensitive regulated land and land that is excluded from the LLS Act. See understanding the map categories and colours below for a summary of currently published categories used in the transitional NVR Map.

What do the categories mean?

Category 1 – exempt land – native vegetation clearing is allowed without approval from Local Land Services.

Category 2 – regulated land – authorisation may be required from Local Land Services for native vegetation clearing. This may include clearing under the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018. Landholders also have a range of allowable clearing activities available to them for use without approval from Local Land Services.

Category 2 – vulnerable regulated land is designated as steep or highly erodible lands, protected riparian land or special category land. Use of the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018 and allowable clearing activities are restricted in these areas.

Category 2 – sensitive regulated land is designated as environmentally sensitive. Clearing under the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018 is not permitted in these areas, although there is a limited list of allowable clearing activities available.

Excluded land is managed outside the land management framework. Other clearing controls may exist in these areas.

Determining land categories not displayed on the map

Transitional arrangements are in place until a comprehensive NVR Map with all the land categories is published. During the 'transitional period', landholders are responsible for determining the categorisation of their land in accordance with section 60F of the LLS Act.

If you require assistance determining which categories apply to any unmapped areas on your landholding, contact the Local Land Services office in your area.

Land not categorised on the transitional NVR Map viewer is still bound by provisions of the legislation.

How the Native Vegetation Regulatory Map is made

The NVR Map is prepared using a peer reviewed scientific method (the NVR Map Method) The map is not produced by a computer algorithm. Rather, each category in the map has been developed using a combination of scientific assessment done by expert mapping scientists and the application of various data sets as specified in the LLS legislation.

The mapping process is designed to capture detectable, significant changes in the extent of vegetation or type of land use across the landscape, indicating that there has been, or is ongoing, agricultural use of the land.

The expert mapping scientists bring together multiple data sets, including satellite and aerial photography imagery, land use mapping, local council zonings, soil and vegetation mapping, threatened species and ecological communities mapping and others to inform the determination of the map category. There are around 90 different data sets used to build the NVR Map. Using multiple lines of evidence, across multiple years, rather than a single 'snapshot' of data, provides high level spatial and visually accurate data.

Detailed information about how the map was made is available in the NVR Map: Method Statement and appendices.

This video tells you more about How the map was made.

Updates

The NVR Map is designed to be a dynamic product that can be updated rapidly and regularly to reflect changes in vegetation, land uses and zonings, mapping of critically endangered plants and ecological communities and the establishment of conservation agreements. The following processes may result in changes to the NVR Map on your property:

  • Landholder Initiated Map Review (Map Review)
  • annual update to incorporate new or improved data
  • more frequent updates capturing new information such as code certification and set-aside sites.

Updates to the NVR Map will be regular and ongoing. Landholders should always check if the map has changed before undertaking land management activities. Before undertaking vegetation clearing works, we recommend printing a date stamped copy of the map for your records. To produce a map - locate your land holding in the NVR map viewer, select 'Print' in the Tools bar, select Print again and open the image. The date stamped map can be printed or saved as a PDF.

Future publication of a draft comprehensive NVR Map showing proposed mapping of the additional categories is under consideration. When released, the draft comprehensive NVR Map categories will be available to landholders and approval authorities for information, review and consultation.  Map reviews will continue to be available to landholders during and after the transitional period. See 'About the different versions of the map' on the More information page to find out more about land categories for future release.

What's new on the map?

The following table sets out the timetable for published versions of the map. Other minor maintenance of the map is ongoing. 

Date published Description
22 November 2019 
(Version 2.0)

Changes arising from the annual review update include:

  • removal of all approval areas for Private Native Forestry Property Vegetation Plans from category 2 – sensitive regulated land
  • additions to category 2 – sensitive regulated land of set-aside areas approved between August 2017 and May 2019 under the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018
  • additions and removals to category 2 – sensitive regulated land from updated mapping of Wetland and Rainforest areas under the Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP)
  • revisions to the habitat for some Critically Endangered Plants in category 2 – sensitive regulated land
  • inclusion of rural lands zoned as RU3 (Forestry) as land subject to the LLS Act and otherwise determined as category 2 – sensitive or category 2 – vulnerable regulated lands
  • updates to land re-categorised since publication of the transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory (NVR) Map in August 2017 including land retained or remediated under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, Plantations and Reafforestation Act 1999, Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997, Native Vegetation Act 2003 and the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974
  • updates to Private Native Forestry Rainforest and Old Growth mapping under the Local Land Services Act 2013
  • updates to category 2 – sensitive regulated land reflecting changes to Comprehensive Koala Plans of Management managed by local councils. 
 25 August 2017 
(Version 1.0)
 The transitional NVR Map was first published.

Each category is developed using a combination of rigorous scientific assessment by experienced scientists and the integration of particular data required by the legislation. Publicly released transitional NVR Map categories are available via the NVR Map Viewer.

The following map colours and category definitions will help you understand what you see on the revised transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory (NVR) Map.

Transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory Map – Land categories and map colour code

Category 2 - vulnerable land, Category 2 - senstive land, Excluded land, In some parts of NSW a purple crosshatch is displayed over the NVR Map. This is an advisory/provisional layer indicating where certain Critically Endangered Ecological Communities are likely to occur. This is an adivosry map layer and not a NVR Map Category.

Category 2 – sensitive regulated lands

Some environmentally significant or sensitive areas of NSW are already protected under a range of Local, State and Federal Government legislation, agreements or conditions of consent. These areas are identified in the NVR Map as Category 2 – sensitive regulated land to ensure they continue to be protected.

Category 2 – sensitive regulated land is a sub-category of Category 2 – regulated land. Category 2 – sensitive regulated land is displayed on the NVR map as Pink. In some circumstances, Category 2 – sensitive regulated land and Category 2 – vulnerable regulated land exist on the same land. If these two categories overlap, they are displayed as Brown on the map.

Data for mapping Category 2 - sensitive regulated land is sourced from a variety of places. The map is not produced by a computer algorithm.

In some cases, mapping developed under other legislation is imported directly into the NVR map e.g. Coastal Management SEPP mapping or Core Koala Habitat mapping. Some land is mapped and directly imported into the map when Conservation Agreements are created. Other mapping, for example critically endangered plant mapping and critically endangered ecological communities mapping, is created by expert threatened species scientists using an approved scientific method. Detailed information about data and technology used to produce this category on the NVR Map is described in the Map Method Statement.

Different types of land that can be category 2 – sensitive land

Land where the environment agency head reasonably believes it to contain:

  • Old growth forest
  • Rainforest
  • Critically endangered ecological communities
  • Critically endangered plants
  • Core koala habitat
  • High conservation value grasslands or other groundcover
  • Areas of outstanding biodiversity value
  • Ramsar wetlands within the meaning of the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
  • Land described as Coastal Wetlands in the Coastal Zone referred to in the Coastal Management Act
  • Land described as Littoral Rainforest in the Coastal Zone referred to in the Coastal Management Act
  • Land is subject to an approved conservation measure that was the basis for other land being biodiversity certified.

Land contained in the following types of agreements:

  • Biodiversity stewardship agreement made under the Biodiversity Conservation Act
  • Conservation agreement made under the Biodiversity Conservation Act
  • Wildlife refuge agreement made under the Biodiversity Conservation Act
  • Conservation Agreement made under the National Parks and Wildlife Act
  • Trust Agreement made under the Nature Conservation Trust Act
  • Conservation areas made under Southern Mallee Land use Agreements
  • Registered Property Agreement made under the Native Vegetation Conservation Act
  • Incentive or Conservation Property Vegetation Plans made under the Native Vegetation Act

Land required to be set aside, offset or retained as a condition of development consent or subject to a remedial direction, including:

  • Land required to be set-aside under a code compliant certificate made under the land management (native vegetation) code
  • Land currently subject to a remedial action to restore or protect biodiversity values
  • Land required to be set-aside under a Ministerial Order made under the Native Vegetation Act
  • Land established as an Offset in a Property Vegetation Plan made under the Native Vegetation Act
  • Land contains native vegetation that is required to be retained under a plantation authorisation made under the Plantations and Re-afforestation Act 1999
  • the land is, by a condition of a development consent or approval under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 that has been notified to the Environment Agency Head, required to be set aside for nature conservation, for re-vegetation of native vegetation or as a native vegetation offset.

Category 2 – vulnerable regulated lands

Some areas of NSW such as steep slopes and riparian land along the edge of rivers, creeks and other waterways are vulnerable to soil erosion, salinity, sedimentation and landslip. These lands play an important role in maintaining productive and stable soils and healthy and vibrant waterways.

These lands were previously defined as 'Protected Lands' under the Soil Conservation Act. This Act protected these areas and first introduced regulation of clearing vegetation on land susceptible to erosion or otherwise environmentally sensitive areas. The use and naming of these land classifications has evolved through various legislation and is now identified on the NVR Map as Category 2 – vulnerable regulated land and is a sub-category of Category 2 – regulated land.

Category 2 – vulnerable regulated land can include:

  • steep and highly erodible land: land with a slope >18 degrees and/or where soil characteristics, slope and rainfall erosion present a high erosion risk
  • protected riparian land: land within 20 meters of the bed or bank of a named natural watercourse or waterbody. This land filters runoff into streams and provides habitat for many plant and animal species and, in many cases, are the only remaining natural corridors in the landscape.
  • special category land: exists over some areas of NSW considered to be at particular environmental risk and includes land vulnerable to soil erosion, salinity, sedimentation and/or landslip. Environmentally sensitive land defined as 'special category land' could include the following:
    • Aboriginal site protection
    • coastal dune protection
    • erosion hazards
    • flora and fauna protection
    • geological/geomorphological site protection
    • habitat protection, scenic values
    • mass movement areas, and
    • saline areas.
  • Vulnerable special category land also includes areas mapped in the Yass, Tweed and 'Lowbidgee' catchments.
  • Clearing of dead native vegetation and non-native plants is also limited on land mapped as Category 2 – vulnerable lands. This is to ensure soil stability in these vulnerable areas.

Category 2 – vulnerable regulated land is displayed on the NVR Map as Orange, or Brown in areas where it overlaps with Category 2 – sensitive regulated land.

The 3 elements of Category 2 – vulnerable regulated land mapping are developed using a combination of existing data sets and technologies:

  • protected riparian land mapping is generated using existing riparian data sets
  • steep and highly erodible land mapping is generated using former State Protected Land mapping and LiDar (a high frequency laser scanner)
  • special category lands mapping is generated using digitised data from scanned rectified topography maps converted from original Soil Conservation Service maps.

Detailed information about data and technology used on the NVR Map is described in the Map Method Statement.

Excluded lands

The Land Management framework under the Local Land Services (LLS) Act applies in rural areas of the State. Areas of the State where it doesn't apply are mapped as 'Excluded Land' on the NVR Map. These lands are generally non-rural, such as residential or industrial areas, and includes land zoned for environmental purposes. Lands mapped as Excluded are not subject to native vegetation land management requirements prescribed in the LLS Act. Excluded lands on the NVR map include:

  • The following metropolitan local government areas of Sydney and Newcastle: Bayside, City of Blacktown, Burwood, Camden, City of Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Canada Bay, Cumberland, City of Fairfield, Georges River, City of Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Hunter's Hill, Georges River, Inner West, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, City of Liverpool, Mosman, Newcastle, North Sydney, Northern Beaches, City of Parramatta, City of Penrith, City of Randwick, Rockdale, City of Ryde, Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, City of Sydney, The Hills Shire, Waverley, City of Willoughby, Woollahra.
  • Land within the following environmental planning instrument zones: Zone RU5 Village, Zone R1 General Residential, Zone R2 Low Density Residential, Zone R3 Medium Density Residential, Zone R4 High Density Residential, Zone R5 Large Lot Residential, Zone B1 Neighbourhood Centre, Zone B2 Local Centre, Zone B3 Commercial Core, Zone B4 Mixed Use, Zone B5 Business Development, Zone B6 Enterprise Corridor, Zone B7 Business Park, Zone B8 Metropolitan Centre, Zone IN1 General Industrial, Zone IN2 Light Industrial, Zone IN3 Heavy Industrial, Zone IN4 Working Waterfront, Zone SP1 Special Activities, Zone SP2 Infrastructure, Zone SP3 Tourist, Zone RE1 Public Recreation, Zone RE2 Private Recreation, Zone E2 Environmental Conservation, Zone E3 Environmental Management, Zone E4 Environmental Living or Zone W3 Working Waterways.
  • National parks, State forests and other conservation areas:
    • wilderness areas
    • national parks
    • flora reserve
    • state heritage listed areas
    • areas of outstanding biodiversity value
    • critical fisheries habitat
    • world heritage property
    • some crown land reserves
    • state forest and timber reserves
    • Lord Howe Island.

The Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code and Allowable Activities defined in the LLS Act cannot be used for clearing in excluded areas.

Excluded land is displayed on the NVR Map as Grey.

Various spatial datasets are used to define Excluded Land, including:

  • zoning maps from all NSW local environment plans
  • NSW local government areas
  • national parks and state forest estates
  • areas of outstanding biodiversity value
  • wilderness areas declared under the Wilderness Act 1987
  • NSW Crown Land and State Heritage Register data.