Landcover science

We monitor and report on a range of landcover-based information.

Land cover mapping image

The NSW Government has mapped, monitored and reported on landcover change since 2006.

Data collection

Our landcover data collections and imagery help us measure, monitor and compare the type, extent and condition of vegetation and land use across New South Wales.

This information:

  • improves our understanding of landcover and landcover change
  • provides the science to measure changes to our natural resources and biodiversity
  • provides a consistent way to describe and map landcover and native vegetation
  • supports effective decision making about land use
  • contributes to legislative, environmental and land management decision making about land use
  • helps identify impacts on resources, biodiversity and ecosystems
  • enables statewide environmental reporting.

Monitoring vegetation clearing

We use satellite imagery combined with comprehensive human interpretation and validation to detect and report vegetation change annually. We use the Statewide Landcover and Tree Study (SLATS) and Non Woody Landcover Disturbance program (NWD) methods.

NSW vegetation clearing

This report provides annual data from 2018 on woody and non woody vegetation clearing. Data is provided both statewide and on land managed under the Local Land Services Act (Category 2 regulated land).

The report includes areas of vegetation clearing in hectares by landcover class and authorisations. For more information, go to the NSW Vegetation Clearing webpage.

Long term trends in woody vegetation clearing

This report captures clearing rates (hectares per year) from 1988. The report includes woody vegetation clearing by landcover class (agriculture, forestry and infrastructure) and across administrative and environmental boundaries. For more information, go to the Long term trends in woody vegetation clearing webpage.

Fire and vegetation change

We report on fire extent and severity each year. Fire is not considered a permanent loss of native vegetation, and no legislative reporting requirements exist.

Vegetation loss due to fire was reported as part of our Statewide Landcover and Tree Study reporting until 2018. In 2021 we started publishing annual reports on fire extent and severity across the landscape using fire extent and severity mapping.

NSW Land Use Program

Our land use program provides information on what land use activities are occurring and where across the state.

Collection of geospatial data

Remotely sensed imagery is routinely collected by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water and used to map vegetation clearing. This data is spatially explicit and can be used with other datasets to identify activity on individual lots.