About native vegetation

Native vegetation is trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses that are indigenous to New South Wales. These plants are vital to the health of our land.

About half of the native vegetation that once covered NSW remains today. Native vegetation has been modified and fragmented over time as land was developed for grazing and agriculture, and by introduced plants and animals.

It’s important that our native vegetation is managed sustainably.


Retaining a healthy mix of native plants is critical for the health and long-term survival of our native ecosystems, land productivity and human well-being. Native vegetation helps:

  • control erosion through protecting soils and riverbanks
  • reduce land degradation and salinity
  • improve water quality and availability
  • provide habitat
  • provide shelter for livestock
  • provide a renewable source of timber
  • store carbon, mitigating the effects of climate change
  • increase farming productivity through pollination of crops and reduction of pests.

Native vegetation information

Information about native vegetation is used for a range of activities, such as:

  • bushfire control and management by the Rural Fire Service and communities
  • development approval and regulation by government
  • environmental assessments by environmental consultants
  • environmental management, development and planning by local government
  • environmental water allocation and wetlands protection by governments and conservation groups
  • habitat assessment and management of threatened species and communities
  • monitoring the effectiveness of land-use planning by Local Land Services.


We support a native vegetation framework that includes the development and maintenance of a number of databases that are important to the management of NSW vegetation, soils, and native plants and animals.

The Integrated BioNet Vegetation Data Program brings vegetation classification data and maps together. It supports users undertaking land management activities and biodiversity assessments, and links to other biodiversity information commonly applied in biodiversity assessments, such as threatened ecological community and threatened species data.

The Soil and Land Information System (SALIS) describes soils, landscapes and other geographic features. It supports planning and decision-making for better land management. SALIS includes physical and chemical soil data as well as map data, reports and images.

The BioNet Atlas includes a number of data collections that capture information about native plants and animals in NSW. As well as providing a source of information it is used to improve planning and decision-making about native plants and animals, including threatened species.

The Saving our Species database is a register of strategies for threatened species and ecological communities, and priority key threatening processes across NSW.

The Threatened species database lists threatened species, populations of a species and ecological communities, their risk of extinction and threats or key threatening processes.