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Advice on how to minimise potential negative impacts of any type of agriculture, from cropping to grazing

What do we mean?

Agricultural activities which have the potential to impact on threatened species. The principal activity of concern is clearing of native vegetation (see Activity Advice: Cutting or Clearing Trees or other Vegetation for more information). Other activities include nutrient enrichment of native vegetation/waterways through fertiliser run-off, non-target effects of pesticides and herbicides, grazing pressure, compaction of soil by stock, fragmentation of previously continuous habitat, increased edge effects, introduced plants (weeds) and diseases, and introduced animals including grazing animals (e.g. rabbits), predators (e.g. cats) and exotic pollinators.

General points to consider

    • A large number of threatened species occur on private land in agricultural districts.
    • In many cases, appropriately managed agricultural land can successfully support threatened species, and a number of threatened species have their stronghold on agricultural land (e.g. the Eastern Barred Bandicoot).
    • However, some management practices on agricultural land are a major threat to many threatened species.
    • Clearing of habitat represents the most widespread and significant threatening process for many threatened animals and plants.
    • Activities which lead to conversion of a site (for example to pasture, cropland or plantation) results in the loss of habitat.
    • Soil compaction by stock is a significant problem on farms as it reduces plant productivity and reduces the ability of soils to store water. Where stock have access to native vegetation, soil compaction can also lead to severe damage and loss of threatened species habitats.
    • Most native plants are extremely sensitive to fertiliser. Application of fertiliser can kill native species and/or promote non-native (weed) species.
    • Do not apply fertiliser to native grasslands and other native vegetation.
  • In some cases, agricultural activities may benefit a threatened species if carried out appropriately. For example some plant species (including many native orchids) can benefit from the disturbance of vegetation through appropriate levels of grazing or burning, while some native butterflies benefit from moderate levels of grazing or occasional burning which opens out their grassland habitat.
  • The Bushcare Toolkit provides management advice for the various vegetation types which may be present in your area. If it looks complicated, seek advice from an environmental consultant.


The agency most commonly responsible for regulating this activity is listed below (but refer also to the Permits section on the Planning Ahead page):