The past 5 years has seen an ongoing relaxation of the effects of the millennium drought and recovery in many areas (the millennium drought in southern Australian lasted from 2000 to 2010, although in some areas it began as early as 1997 and ended as late as 2012).
Bushfires (wildfires) are uncontrolled fire in the landscape. These particularly affect natural or seminatural vegetation, and have significant positive and negative effects on landscape and ecosystem processes.
Land clearing represents a fundamental pressure on the land environment, causing the loss and fragmentation of native vegetation. Depending on subsequent management, land clearing can also lead to a variety of impacts on soils, including erosion and loss of nutrients.
In light of international agreements such as the Paris Agreement—which emerged from the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in 2015, and governs greenhouse gas
Legislative arrangements for the management of public lands continue to be relatively stable, despite flux in the names, structures and specific responsibilities of the government departments and agencies that oversee management.
Investment in management of the land environment includes financial and in-kind commitments by all levels of government, private landowners and businesses, philanthropic and other nongovernment organisations, Indigenous Australians and communities.
Forests and woodlands together represent about 16 per cent of the area of the Australian continent (124.7 million hectares); of this, 41 per cent is in Queensland, 18 per cent in New South Wales, 15 per cent in Western Australia and 12 per cent in the Northern Territory (
Although positive developments in resourcing, evidence-based policy-making and management effectiveness are evident, ongoing improvements depend heavily on the quality and overall capacity of the human resources, networks and infrastructure involved in land planning and management.
Under natural conditions, the land (i.e. landforms, soils, drainage networks of streams and rivers, vegetation and other biota) is in some sort of equilibrium with the climate and disturbance factors such as bushfire.
Metcalfe D, Bui E (2016). Land: Topics. In: Australia state of the environment 2016, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra, https://soe.environment.gov.au/theme/land/topics, DOI 10.4226/94/58b6585f94911
Australia State of the Environment 2016 has been prepared by independent experts using the best available information to support assessments of environmental condition, pressures, management effectiveness, resilience, risks and outlook.
This site is a major undertaking to improve the usability of SoE information. We are grateful for the support of users in our ongoing efforts to improve SoE reporting. Please report problems with the site via our feedback page.
We, the authors, acknowledge the traditional owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community; we pay respect to them and their cultures and to their elders both past and present.