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Thirsty koala © Alicia Alexander

Thirsty koala © Alicia Alexander

More than 40 million trees destroyed in Queensland in 2014-15

12 Aug 2016

Keywords
  • great barrier reef
  • queensland
  • tree-clearing
An analysis by WWF-Australia reveals that an estimated 40.7 million trees were destroyed in Queensland in 2014-15.
 
“That’s more than one tree bulldozed every second,” said WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Martin Taylor.
 
Crucially, 16.1 million of the destroyed trees were in Great Barrier Reef catchments increasing the amount of sludge flowing out to reef waters and harming coral and sea grass.
 
“Tree clearing is out of control. If we want to save the Reef and stop the decline of koalas we cannot continue to destroy trees at such an alarming rate,” he said.
 
Dr Taylor said the official Queensland Government figures for clearing in 2014-15 contained a disturbing statistic: 71% of the clearing was mature forests that had never been cleared or bushland and forests over 28 years old. 
 
Methodology for the estimate of the number of trees destroyed
 
Dr Martin Taylor examined the SLATS map and removed any area that was not forest or woodland before the 2014-15 clearing.
 
Dr Taylor also removed any area of trees destroyed by natural processes such as cyclones (which is categorised by SLATS)
 
Then Dr Taylor applied the peer-reviewed eco-regional tree density model of Crowther et al and calculated the number of trees cleared.
 
What 296,000 hectares looks like

Map representing 296,000 hectares (Queensland)

WWF-Australia Media Contact: Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571, msymons@wwf.org.au

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