Native Vegetation Regulatory Map: more information

Find out more about the Native Vegetation Regulatory Map, land categories and how to change the category of your land.

About the Native Vegetation Regulatory Map

The Native Vegetation Regulatory (NVR) Map is an essential part of the Local Land Services Act 2013 (LLS Act), Part 5A and supports application of the land management code and allowable activities as part of the land management framework for NSW.

Each category of the NVR Map is developed using a combination of rigorous scientific assessment by experienced scientists and integration of data required by the legislation.

The NVR map is designed to be a dynamic product regularly updated to reflect changes in vegetation across the landscape and incorporate changes through operation of the land management framework.

Regular review and updates to the NVR Map will occur as required. Landholders should regularly check the NVR Map Viewer for the status of categories to ensure they have the latest available mapping applicable to their landholding.

Detailed information about how the map was made is available in the NVR Map: Method Statement (PDF 2.5MB).

To find your landholding on the Transitional NVR map open the map viewer at NVR Map Viewer – read the information provided in the left-hand side panel.

To navigate around the map:

  • click on the blue Start here… button
  • search for your landholding by choosing one of the search menus, e.g. Find Lot/DP
  • scroll up or down to increase or decrease the size of your view
  • use the buttons in the lower left corner of the map to change the map scale and turn the base image options on or off.

To turn map category layers on or off and adjust layer transparency click on the 'Layers' tab in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen and use the tick box controls and slider tool in the legend.

Explore other map viewer tools by clicking on the Tools button in the top right-hand corner of the map viewer

Transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory Map currently in force

On commencement of Part 5A of the Local Land Services Act 2013 (LLS Act) in August 2017, a transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory Map (NVR Map) was published for use during the transitional period. The transitional NVR Map does not include all categories defined in the legislation. The transitional NVR Map can be viewed using the NVR Map Viewer.

The Transitional NVR Map was updated to Version 2.0 on 22 November 2019 following the annual review process. The map is incrementally updated in between major version changes to reflect map review and code activity updates.

During the ‘transitional period’, landholders are responsible for determining the categorisation of their land in accordance with section 60F of the Local Land Services Act 2013 (LLS Act). If you require assistance with determining which categories are applicable to your landholding, contact the Local Land Services office in your area.

The land categories and colours displayed on the currently in-force transitional NVR Map are explained in more detail on the Native Vegetation Regulatory Map webpage.

A comprehensive NVR Map for the future

Publication of a comprehensive NVR Map that categorises all land in New South Wales is under consideration. A future comprehensive NVR Map would show any new categories as draft so landholders and other interested parties have an opportunity to make submissions. A comprehensive NVR Map would not become enforceable until completion of the submission process and final publication.

A future draft comprehensive NVR Map would display the same land categories as the currently in-force transitional NVR Map plus the following land categories and colours:

Colour Category  Definition summary 
Blue Category 1 – unregulated exempt land The LLS Act designates land as Category 1 – unregulated (exempt) if it:
  • was cleared of native vegetation as at 1 January 1990
  • was lawfully cleared between 1 January 1990 and 25 August 2017
  • in the case of grasslands or other non-woody vegetation, was significantly disturbed or modified
  • is land containing low conservation value grasslands or groundcover
  • is native vegetation identified as regrowth in a property vegetation plan issued under the Native Vegetation Act 2003,
  • is biodiversity certified land under the Biodiversity Conservation Act.

See Part 5A section 60H of the LLS Act (clause 109-110 of the LLS Regulation) for a full description of category 1 – exempt land.

Yellow Category 2 – regulated land 

For future release

The Local Land Services (LLS) Act and LLS Regulation designates land as Category 2 – regulated land as land that:
  • was not cleared of native vegetation before 1 January 1990
  • was unlawfully cleared of native vegetation after 1 January 1990
  • has native vegetation grown or preserved using public funds
  • was subject to a private native forestry plan
  • was previously subject to a conservation property vegetation plan or an incentive property vegetation plan
  • was subject to a requirement of a remedial direction to restore or protect the biodiversity values of the land
  • contains grasslands that are not low conservation value grasslands
  • is a travelling stock reserve (unless located in the NSW Western Division)
  • is otherwise defined by the LLS Act and LLS Regulation as Category 2 – regulated land.

See Part 5A section 60I of the LLS Act (clauses 109, 111–113) for a full description of category 2 – regulated land. 

The Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code (the Code) does not permit clearing on some land categories; for example, use of the Code is prohibited on category 2 – sensitive regulated land. Landholders should refer to the Local Land Services website for more information.

Koala habitat included in the transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory (NVR) Map is only derived from approved Koala Plans of Management (KPOM) made under the former State Environmental Planning Policy 44 – Koala Habitat Protection where they exist across New South Wales.

These include approved KPOMs for the following local government areas: Ballina, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey East, Lismore, Port Stephens.

Part 5A of the LLS Act and LLS Regulation requires koala habitat identified in an approved KPOM to be mapped as sensitive regulated land if, in the opinion of the Environment Agency Head, it is ‘core’ koala habitat.

Although KPOM map data is categorised as category 2 – sensitive regulated land on the transitional NVR Map, the source data is managed by the local council or planning authority that established the KPOM. Enquiries about KPOM mapping should be directed to the relevant council in the first instance. Councils will advise the Department of any necessary changes to the NVR map.

Although there are some overlaps between land included on the Biodiversity Values (BV) Map and the way land is categorised on the transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory (NVR) Map, the two maps have different purposes.

The transitional NVR Map was developed to underpin the land management framework during a transitional period. It shows excluded land to which Part 5A of the LLS Act does not apply. It also shows:

  • category 2 – sensitive regulated land – where clearing under the  (the Code) is not available and to which a more restricted range of allowable activities applies
  • category 2 – vulnerable regulated land – where a more restricted range of allowable activities apply; where clearing under the Code may be available but to which additional restrictions may apply and upon which dead and non-of native vegetation is also regulated.

The BV Map applies to local development under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) and clearing of native vegetation regulated under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017. The BV Map identifies land with high biodiversity value as defined by the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017. It is one of the mechanisms used to determine when the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme applies to development requiring approval under the EP&A Act.

There are some similarities between the NVR Map and the BV Map, e.g. they both use some of the same underlying data sets.

More information about the NVR Map is available on our Native Vegetation Regulatory Map webpage or you can contact the Map Review team at map.review@environment.nsw.gov.au or 02 6360 9000.

More information about the BV Map and the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme is available on our Biodiversity Offsets Scheme entry requirements webpage or by visiting Biodiversity Offsets Scheme support.

The Digital Cadastral Database (DCDB) is a digital representation of the cadastre of New South Wales and is only displayed with the transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory (NVR) Map to assist land owners using lot and DP numbers to search for and identify their landholdings. It is important to understand that the DCDB is not a survey-accurate representation of cadastre and property boundaries and when viewing the transitional NVR Map, the background image of your landholding may not always align correctly with the DCDB boundaries. For more information about the cadastral layer on the NVR Map, go to 'Why is the cadastral boundary and my property boundary misaligned?.

The transitional NVR map can be viewed online using the NVR Map Viewer. Click on the blue 'Start here' button to search for your landholding on the map.

A ‘cadastre’ is an official register of property showing land parcels or other boundaries. The Digital Cadastral Database (DCDB) is a digital representation of the cadastre of New South Wales. The DCDB does not confer ownership on any land, as this is recorded in the NSW Torrens Title register.

It is important to understand that the DCDB is not a survey accurate representation of cadastre and property boundaries. Accurate survey plans may be obtained from NSW Land Registry Services. The DCDB is displayed with the transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory (NVR) Map to assist landowners to use lot and Deposited Plan (lot/DP) numbers to search for and identify their land holdings.

When viewing the NVR Map, it is likely that parcel boundaries of your landholding may not align correctly with features like roads and fence lines visible in the background image or parts of the NVR Map. The degree of any misalignment will vary according to the scale the map is being viewed at and where in the state the property is located.

Any misalignment present on the transitional NVR Map can also be compounded by other issues such as: 

  • fence lines not erected on the correct surveyed boundary
  • a give and take fence arrangement in place for a long time
  • crown roads enclosed within a property
  • creeks and rivers naturally changing course following the original survey, or
  • title to the ‘centre thread of the stream’ rules.

If you have located your landholding using the cadastral information, the transitional NVR Map should then be viewed and interpreted using only the coloured NVR categories. The transitional NVR Map categories provide landholders with the information needed to determine which land categories apply to your landholding.

Category explanation reports

A Category Explanation Report (CER) provides detailed maps and definitions for all published transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory (NVR) Map layers applied to areas of land identified in a CER application. The basis for categorisation incorporates consideration of multiple factors including for example; is the land subject to an agreement such as a property vegetation plan or a conservation plan, and if the land comprises certain wetlands, rainforest, private native forests, critically endangered ecological communities or high conservation value grasslands, among others.

The NVR Map uses multiple data sets, including satellite and aerial photography imagery, land use mapping, local council zonings, soil and vegetation mapping, threatened species mapping and others, to inform the determination of the map category. There are around 90 different data sets used to build the NVR Map.

A CER provides detailed maps and a description for each data set contributing to the categorisation of land on your property.

A CER can only be provided for land owned, lawfully occupied (including leased) or managed by the applicant. The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will verify your identification and direct association with the land before providing a CER. The CER application can cover all, or part of, your landholding. An agent can apply for a CER on your behalf – an agent can be anyone authorised by you to act on your behalf such as a Local Land Services Officer, consultant, family member or friend.

If you are satisfied with the transitional NVR Map categories applied to your land, you do not need to apply for a CER or a Map Review.

A Category Explanation Report (CER) application must include proof of identification and proof of land ownership or direct association with the landholding, such as:

  • driver licence or passport (proof of identification)
  • local government rate notice showing lot/DP numbers or a title search/certificate of title (proof of ownership)
  • lease agreements or other documents verifying your direct association to the landholding (proof of direct association with landholding).

There is no fee for a CER.

To find out how to apply for a CER, go to our Native Vegetation Regulatory map review webpage.

When a Category Explanation Report (CER) application has been accepted, in most cases it is anticipated that you will receive your CER within 5 to 10 working days.

Landholder initiated map review

Landholders who consider the transitional NVR Map incorrectly categorises their land can apply for a review of the map categories.

A Map Review allows landholders to provide supporting information for further assessment of the categorisation and to potentially re-categorise their land.

Only people who own, lawfully occupy, lease or manage land can apply for a Map Review of that land. Information that can be used to prove direct association to a landholding, can include a local government rates notice, title certificate/search or lease agreement.

Applicants need to provide information to support an application to review the transitional NVR Map categorisation. Supporting information may include land agreements, e.g. a property vegetation plan, farm records, images or approximate dates of clearing or cultivation events.

It is recommended that landholders apply for a Category Explanation Report (CER) before applying for a Map Review.

Some examples of circumstances where re-categorisation may be considered might include:

  • vulnerable riparian land where a watercourse has realigned over time or no longer contains riparian features
  • sensitive (old growth or rainforest) maybe re-categorised if reviewed at a property scale with high resolution ADS 3D imagery, as opposed to the older technology used at a greater scale to develop the map layer in the first instance – it is recommended that you obtain a CER to give you more information about the greater scale
  • private native forestry property vegetation plans on sensitive land if the plan has expired
  • vulnerable steep or highly erodible land where the landholder provides relevant clinometer readings showing a slope of less than 18 degrees or if a property scale review is conducted.

If you are satisfied with the transitional NVR Map categories applied to your land, you do not need to apply for a CER or Map Review.

Only people who own, lawfully occupy (including lease) or manage land can apply for a Map Review for that land. An agent can apply for a Map Review on your behalf – an agent can be anyone authorised by you to act on your behalf such as a Local Land Services Officer, consultant, family member or friend.

When applying for a Map Review, you or your agent will need to provide: contact details, proof of identification and landholding information including a list of lot and deposited plan (DP) numbers or a map showing the land to be included in the CER (the online NVR Map viewer) can be used to create a map to identify your land).

You will also need to provide information supporting your reason for requesting a map review. The Map Review application form describes some examples of information that can be used. If you need assistance determining what information is required please contact the Map Review Team.

When you submit your application the Map Review Team will assign a case number and a case officer, and the review will commence. The case officer will keep you up to date on the status of your application.

If your application is incomplete, the Map Review Team will contact you to ask for extra information. Depending on the map category under review, an expert may need to do a site visit to gather further information to support the map review. In some cases, an assessment may be referred to another government agency particularly where the mapping is governed by other legislation. The Map Review Team will manage this process for you.

When the map review assessment is complete you will be provided with updated maps for your property and a report that outlines any changes to the mapping. A map review may result in an increase or decrease of the mapped area, or it may remain unchanged.

There is no fee for a Map Review.

To find out how to apply for a Map Review, go to our NVR map review webpage.

The Department aims to determine Map Review applications within 40 days of receipt of a completed application. The determination period may be paused if we ask you to provide further information and resumes when the additional information is received. You will receive progress updates throughout the review period.

If a Map Review determines the transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory (NVR) Map categories of your land should be changed, you will receive a written determination and an updated NVR Map showing the changes. A determination to change the map categories of your land allows you to proceed with land management activities that are allowable for the updated categories under Part 5A of the Local Land Service Act 2013 (LLS Act) and Regulation. Changes to your land categories will appear on the publicly available online NVR Map when the next update is published.

If a Map Review determination shows the existing transitional Native Vegetation Regulatory (NVR) Map category applied to your land is correct, you will be notified of this outcome and no change will be made to the NVR Map.