Vulnerable Lands - Steep or Highly Erodible, Protected Riparian and Special Category

Maintenance of tree cover on certain land is covered by legislation. Such land has previously been mapped in NSW and is called protected land, or in recent times State Protected Land (SPL). Not to be confused with the Vulnerable Regulated Land referred to within the Local Land Services Act 2013 and Regulations.

The purpose of protected land is to regulate the destruction of trees on land susceptible to erosion or land that is otherwise environmentally sensitive. This was administered under part IV, Division 2 of the Soil Conservation Act, 1938. Subsequently, under clause 32(1) the Native Vegetation Regulation 2005, the Minister may prepare a Natural Resource Management Plan (NRM Plan) for two purposes:

  • under subclause 31(1)(a), to identify as vulnerable land, land that is steep or highly erodible, protected riparian land or special category land;

  • Under subclause 31(1)(b), to identify as protected regrowth, all native vegetation (that is regrowth) on land that is identified as steep or highly erodible or protected riparian land.

Additionally, under clause 31(3) of the Regulation the Minister may approve and publish guidelines to enable the clearing, without approval being required, of exotic trees or dead trees on State Protected Land in circumstances where no more than minimal harm is likely. To facilitate the production of an accessible, digital ‘Vulnerable Land’ dataset, catchments or parts of catchments that contain gazetted State Protected Land have been used as a guide to constrain the spatial extent of a new digitally-generated ‘Vulnerable Land’ dataset under the NV Act. No additional areas have been mapped. The dataset comprises three individual components which have direct relationship to previously mapped SPL.

  • Land that was Category A SPL (over 18 degrees) is now steep or highly erodible land. This is land at significant risk of soil erosion. Limiting erosion on these areas requires the maintenance of vegetation cover, especially groundcover.

  • Land that was Category B SPL is now protected riparian land. This provides the filters that keep our streams clean; habitat for many species of flors and fauna and in many cases, the only remaining natural corridors in the landscape.

  • Land that was Category C SPL is now special category land. This exists over a few small areas of NSW that are considered to be at particular environmental risk. These include catchments in the Yass, Tweed, and ‘Lowbidgee’ areas.

Organisation: NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water

Ensuring a sustainable NSW through climate change and energy action, water management, environment and heritage conservation and protection. Read more

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Metadata template type Vector
Asset Type Dataset
Edition 1
Purpose Reference
Update Frequency Not planned
OEH Service Information and Participation
Equivalent Scale 100000
Vector representation
Record 1
Object type
Object count
Geospatial Topic Environment
Geospatial Coverage

Dataset extent

Temporal Coverage From 2005-01-12
Datum GDA94 Geographic (Lat\Long)
Licence Creative Commons Attribution
Landing page
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Attribution NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water asserts the right to be attributed as author of the original material in the following manner: "© State Government of NSW and NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water 2020"