WWF-Australia said tree clearing in Queensland remains unacceptably high after the Queensland Government revealed that 296,000 hectares were cleared in 2014-15.
Much of the clearing (108,000 hectares) took place in Great Barrier Reef catchments.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Outlook 2014 Report includes an estimate that, since European arrival in Queensland, sediment flowing to the Reef has nearly tripled and is now about 8 million tonnes per year.
“That is enough sediment to fill more than 300,000 dump trucks, hitting Reef waters year in year out,” Dr Taylor said.
“Land clearing for grazing is a major cause of the increased sediment which can choke sea grass and coral.
“Already this year global warming caused a coral bleaching event which killed nearly a quarter of the coral on the Great Barrier Reef.
“Carbon pollution from clearing is equivalent to putting an extra 8 million cars on the road, which multiplies the threat posed by land clearing to the Reef,” he said.
Dr Taylor said there were laws currently before the Parliament to restore controls over tree clearing in Queensland, laws that were promised to UNESCO last year, to keep the Reef off the in danger list.
“If MPs are serious about preventing global warming, saving the Reef, and saving Queensland wildlife from extinction, then all MPs must support these laws,” he said.
Dr Taylor released satellite pictures showing major clearing on just one property in the Fitzroy catchment of the Reef, between Mackay and Rockhampton.
“Clearing like this has happened up and down the coast close to the Reef,” he said.
WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571