1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Land

LAND CLEARING

Land clearing destroys plants and local ecosystems, and removes the food and habitats on which native species rely. In addition, land clearing helps weeds and invasive species to spread, affects greenhouse gas emissions and can lead to soil degradation, including erosion or salinity, which in turn can harm water quality. While land clearing is of significant threat to terrestrial biodiversity, it can also provide economic benefits, such as developing new areas for agriculture, and helps to meet the needs of a growing population. Forest conversion is land cleared for the first time and reclearing is the clearing of land previously cleared.

Since 1990, the annual quantity of forest land conversion and reclearing has decreased from 561,000 hectares (ha) in 1990 to 216,500 hectares in 2008. However, these figures do not distinguish between the clearance of native or non-native vegetation (ABS 2010), and it is the clearance of native vegetation that is a significant threat to terrestrial biodiversity.

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