About native vegetation

What is native vegetation?

Native vegetation refers to any naturally occurring local plant species that is indigenous to South Australia, from small ground covers and native grasses to large trees and water plants. It also includes naturally occurring regrowth and in certain circumstances, dead trees.

Native vegetation that has been intentionally planted or sown is generally not protected by the Act. See situations in which planted vegetation might be protected.

Where does the Native Vegetation Act apply?

Native vegetation is protected by the Native Vegetation Act 1991 (the Act) and applies to the whole State of South Australia except certain parts of metropolitan Adelaide – see our maps to find out where it does and doesn’t apply.

Why do clearances need to be offset?

SEB offsetting is a way to support the development of infrastructure and growing populations in South Australia while also making sure important plant and animal habitat is protected now and into the future. SEB offsets are a mechanism to compensate impacts on the environment that can’t be avoided or minimised.

SEB offsetting is achieving the following for the benefit of all South Australians:

  • Preventing further decline in vegetation, particularly in areas that have had high levels of clearance in the past.
  • Maintaining threatened vegetation communities (which are groups of plants that together create unique types of habitat) and species.
  • Ensuring that habitat for our native animals is maintained or replaced.
  • Contributing to the long-term conservation of biodiversity.

Why protect and enhance?

Native vegetation plays a vital role in the health and prosperity of South Australia's ecosystems, communities and many industries. But less than 20 per cent of indigenous vegetation remains in most agricultural areas, and in some regions less than 12 per cent.

Indigenous vegetation provides essential habitat for our native animal species and helps to protect land and water against problems like erosion, salinity and climate change.

The Government of South Australia is committed to protecting native vegetation as part of a broader nature conservation strategy which includes the No Species Loss strategy.

Find out how you can help protect and enhance native vegetation.