Ideally, the headline indicator might consider the area of native vegetation cover in Australia, or the extent and intensity of land clearance and modification. However, few accurate time series data are available. As a result, there is currently no headline indicator for the land dimension that adequately summarises landscapes, biodiversity and ecosystem services. There are, however, two supplementary indicators which provide some insight into aspects of our land, and whether these aspects are improving over time.
Supplementary indicators show that:
- In 1998, there were 333,400 hectares of forest land cleared for the first time, or land recleared, compared to 216,500 hectares in 2008. The amount of forest land cleared during this period peaked in 2004 at 406,700 hectares.
- Australia's native forest area has decreased from 163 million hectares in 2003 to 147 million hectares in 2008.