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Queensland land clearing could become ‘tsunami’, say conservation groups

Michael Slezak reports in The Guardian (13.11.17) that notification of planned land clearing in regional Queensland is up 30% in the past year, compared with the previous three-year average.

‘A dramatic land-clearing surge in Queensland could turn into a “tsunami” in the coming year, say conservationists, the rate of notifications of planned clearing rising 30% in the past year compared with the previous three-year average.

‘If that translates to a 30% jump in land clearing, Queensland – a region already marked as a global deforestation hotspot – could experience rates of land clearing seen just twice since detailed observations began in the 1980s.

‘Since July last year, 1,608 properties in Queensland have notified an intention to clear a total of almost 945,755 hectares of land. Almost all of it is “remnant” forest or bushland – a term used to describe forest that hasn’t previously been cleared. There was also an additional 80,200ha of “high-value agriculture” land approved for clearing, making a total of 1.02m hectares of clearing in the pipeline.

‘If it goes ahead it would undo the work of more than $1bn the federal government has spent paying other landholders not to clear their land, in order to cut carbon emissions under the Coalition’s Direct Action policy.

‘The number of notifications over the period amounted to almost 115 a month – a roughly 30% increase from the rate of fewer than 90 per month seen in the preceding three years.’

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