Topics > Native vegetation

Clearing Native Vegetation

Native vegetation in most parts of South Australia (except parts of metropolitan Adelaide) is protected by the Native Vegetation Act 1991 (the Act). See our maps to find out where the Act applies.

Dead plants can be classified as native vegetation under certain circumstances and are protected by the Act.

Planted vegetation is not covered by the Act unless it was intentionally sown or planted by a person in compliance with a condition imposed by the Council or under any other Act or has been planted with NVC funds (Offset area).

Significant and Regulated Trees may require additional separate approval from your local council where applicable. Contact for further advice.

If you want to clear or remove native vegetation you need to comply with certain requirements (such as following guidelines), or apply for approval. If you already know you need to apply, go to the application forms.

Previous application decisions can be viewed on the clearance register, found here.

Clearance under the Regulations may require approval

We recommend that you submit applications at least 10 weeks before you require a decision.

Some activities are permitted outside the clearance controls of the Act. These activities are identified in the Native Vegetation Regulations 2017 and are listed below. You must address the Mitigation Hierarchy in your application, where required. Please refer to the Mitigation Hierarchy webpage or Fact Sheet for more information.

Do you need to apply for approval to clear? Are there conditions you need to follow? To find out, click on the relevant activity below or use our Interactive Guide for Native Vegetation.

Planning and development

Property maintenance




Flood recovery



You can find information about these activities in our Guide to the Native Vegetation Regulations 2017. A summary of the guide is available in the Managing native vegetation: a summary.

Clearance under the Act requires approval

If your proposed activity is not listed above, please submit a Clearance Application under Section 28 of the Native Vegetation Act 1991.

The most common Section 28 clearance applications to permanently clear native vegetation are for (but are not limited to):

  • scattered trees for centre pivots
  • scattered tress for farm purposes, other than those activities listed above in the regulations
  • cropping purposes
  • vineyards or horticulture activities
  • vegetation regrowth that is more than 5 years old and is to be permanently removed
  • changing land use or expanding an existing use
  • cemetery expansion
  • harvesting native vegetation for brushcutting, woodcutting or any other purpose that involves taking or collecting native vegetation (Section 27(3) of the Act).

Section 28 applications are assessed against the Principles of Native Vegetation Clearance (Schedule 1) and the criteria for intact strata – see the Guide for Applications to clear native vegetation under the Native Vegetation Act 1991 or Native Vegetation Regulations 2017.

In most instances, you will need to engage an Accredited Consultant to undertake a data report and help you in preparing an application and an application fee will also be required. Contact us for more information.

To see how the clearance process works, check out the Clearance and Significant Environmental Benefit Process Chart.

What does 'clearing' mean?

You may need to seek approval or meet certain requirements to:

  • cut down, burn, poison or remove plants
  • remove branches, limbs, stems or trunks
  • slash understorey
  • drain and reclaim wetlands
  • burn native vegetation
  • change grazing practices
  • carry out any other activity likely cause damage to native vegetation.

An approvals guide Protecting your assets and native vegetation has been developed for Kangaroo Island - please click here to access the guide.

Contact us

If you have submitted an application, or are seeking follow up information, please contact the Native Vegetation Branch on (+61 8) 8303 9777, or submit an online enquiry.

Native vegetation approved clearance infographic