Native vegetation

The importance of native vegetation

The diversity, extent and quality of native vegetation is a cornerstone for the health and resilience of ecosystems and all of the living things within them. As natural habitat, it supports our native animal species including the threatened species of the area.

But native vegetation does much more than that; it also provides other environmental, social and economic benefits. For example, native vegetation sequesters carbon to combat climate change and has a cooling effect in cities and landscapes, filters water to benefit water quality, helps to control soil erosion and reduce flood impacts, provides attractive natural areas with amenity and human health and wellbeing benefits, and supports nature-based recreation and tourism. In fact, Victoria’s natural environment is our biggest tourist attraction.

Rich though it remains today, the native vegetation of Victoria has been under sustained pressure for nearly two centuries and is not as extensive, diverse or healthy now as it once was. Victoria is the most intensively settled and cleared state in Australia, with more than 50% of the state’s native vegetation cleared. This has enabled Victoria to become a powerhouse of agricultural production, with huge benefits to the state economy, but it has also left a legacy of loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitats that is evident across the state. As a result, between one quarter and one third of Victoria’s terrestrial plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, along with numerous invertebrates and ecological communities, are considered threatened.