Between 2018 and 2022, 646, 418 square hectares of vegetation were approved for clearing in NSW. Clearing involves the removal of surface vegetation, including trees and shrubs, as well as grasses, low-level plants and ground cover. The process is an important and useful tool to assist in the management of land use, as well as enhance safety, promote better biodiversity and provide an effective method of reducing the risk of a bushfire burning out of control.
Take a look at some of the reasons why land clearing is a vital part of any land management plan.
If an area of land is left to self-populate with plants over a period of time, a process called succession takes place. The plants that grow first on a bare patch of soil are low-level, hardy plants such as grasses. Over time, the grass stabilises and enriches the soil, providing a suitable environment for larger, less hardy plants to grow. Further soil enhancement from these high-order plants creates the right environment for larger shrubs and trees to thrive.
Unfortunately, as larger plants become established, they trap sunlight, reducing the amount of light that reaches the ground. This means that low-level grasses and plants, all valuable sources of nutrients for wild animals or grazing farm animals, don’t grow as abundantly, as there isn’t enough light available for them.
Clearing changes this dynamic, removing the larger, sun-blocking plants. The bare soil surface that’s left following clearing is ideal for grass seeds to grow, providing valuable animal feed.
Enabling changes in land use
Trees and shrubs limit the ease with which the land can be tilled or built over. Land clearing results in a flat, unobstructed surface that is easy to cultivate or that provides the perfect surface on which to lay the foundations for a building of some sort. If you’re planning to construct a structure over the summer, spring is the perfect time to get your land clearing completed.
Reducing the risk of a fire spreading
Unfortunately, the risk of a bushfire soars along with the temperature. One of the easiest ways to protect properties, animals and infrastructure from a bushfire is to construct fire breaks – bare strips of land that contain nothing the fire can burn. Faced with a fire break, the fire will usually not be able to travel any further. Spring is the perfect time to make sure the fire break area is clear of vegetation and debris.
Improving cropping efficiency
Trees and shrubs obstruct the progress of machinery that’s ploughing, harvesting, irrigating or sowing. A tree in the middle of a field needs to be steered around, wasting time and potentially reducing the yield from the land. Clearing the ground before sowing takes place offers a chance to ensure farmed land is even, smooth and in optimal condition to produce a high yield.