The Dangers Behind Gum Tree Removal
We discussed the damaging impact of deforestation in a previous article. Eliminating broad swathes of the forest has knock-on effects that threaten ecosystems on land and in the ocean. Tree removal at a local level can also cause significant problems.
One significant threat that local councils are dealing with is koala habitat destruction. The Sunshine Coast is no stranger to this issue. Koalas rely solely on eucalyptus trees for food and protection. Therefore, removing eucalyptus trees can potentially cause significant damage.
There are various species of eucalyptus trees, and many have a protected status in their own right. Queensland conservation laws prescribe the status of each species and the associated protections. Not understanding the appropriate regulations may add a fine to quoted tree removal prices.
If you are considering gum tree removal on your property, there’s much you need to consider beforehand.
- Various species of eucalyptus trees have different listing statuses. Protected tree removal may attract fines.
- Koala habitat areas and priority areas have prohibitions against clearing.
- Exemptions exist for certain clearing activities.
- A vegetation management property report will help you understand your obligations.
What Is a Gum Tree?
Gum trees, scientifically known as Eucalyptus tree, are a diverse genus of trees and shrubs predominantly native to Australia. They’re renowned for their hardiness, towering height, unique bark, and aromatic leaves.
Types of Gum Trees
There are over 700 gum tree types, ranging from small shrubs to giant trees. Some common types include the River Red Gum, known for its distinctive red bark, the Ghost Gum, identified by its white bark; and the Blue Gum, with its bluish-grey leaves.
The Big Gum Tree
Among the types of gum trees, there are some notable giants. The Mountain Ash is considered one of the biggest, reaching up to 100 meters in height. These towering trees are impressive in size of the tree and play a crucial role in their ecosystems, providing habitat for a variety of wildlife.
Gum Tree Lifespan
How long do gum trees live? The lifespan of gum trees varies significantly depending on the species and environmental conditions. Many gum trees can live for over 200 years, with some species like the Mountain Ash capable of reaching ages of up to 500 years!
Gum Tree Roots
Gumtree roots are known for their resilience. They often spread wide and deep, allowing the tree to thrive in various soil types and conditions. However, this extensive root system can sometimes cause problems if a gum tree is located near buildings or infrastructure.
Pruning Gum Trees
Regular pruning of gum trees can help maintain their health and safety. Pruning involves removing dead trees or dying branches, reducing the height or spread if necessary, and shaping the tree. It’s advisable to hire a professional arborist for this task due to the potential risks involved.
Gum Tree Removal Cost
The cost of gum tree removal can vary greatly depending on the size of the tree, location, and complexity of the job. Getting a few quotes from professional tree removal services is recommended to ensure you’re getting a fair price range.
Protected tree species
The Nature Conservation (Plants) Regulation 2020 lists protected vegetation’s listing status. The environmental status of eucalyptus trees varies by species. For example, the following species are ‘critically endangered’:
- Eucalyptus argophloia
- Eucalyptus dalveenica
The following trees’ listing is ‘endangered’:
- Eucalyptus conglomerata
- Eucalyptus farinosa
- Eucalyptus nudicaulis
Removing trees with no local council approval, such as the above, may attract fines. However, there are exemptions that we will cover.
Koalas were classified as an endangered species in February 2022. The Queensland Government implemented measures to stabilise the koala population by protecting their habitats.
Koala habitat areas
Koala habitat areas are tracts of land that contain resources essential to preserving a koala population. Koala habitats are contained within three districts marked A, B and C. Each district represents a similar koala population and threat level. The Sunshine Coast falls within District A. The below map comes from the Nature Conservation (Koala) Conservation Plan 2017 information sheet.
Koala priority areas
Koala priority areas are pieces of land that best achieve koala conservation goals. Priority areas focus on the long-term management of koala habitats. Habitat mapping and data on localised threats and opportunities identify critical areas for conservation efforts.
Queensland land generally prohibits gum tree removal within koala priority areas. However, there are exemptions.
Koala habitat clearing exemptions
While the government prohibits clearing within koala priority areas, there are exemptions. The Planning Regulation 2017 provides a one-off exemption for clearing less than 500 square metres. Once a property owner has used this exemption, they may not use it again.
property owners may also remove koala habitat trees on the condition they use sequential clearing. Using sequential clearing allows koalas in the area a chance to move. To achieve this, the clearing should take place in stages. The clearing should also occur in the presence of a qualified koala spotter. Sections 10 and 11 of the Nature Conservation (Koala) Plan 2017 cover these requirements.
Landowners can also use exemptions under the Vegetation Management Act 1999. Some general exemptions for tree clearing include:
- Tree lopping to remove hazards to people or property;
- Creating a necessary fence, road or track;
- Controlling a pest species;
- Removing a dead tree or fallen trees;
- Creating a fire break.
Learn what your responsibilities are
Before proceeding with gum tree removal, you must determine whether your property has protected vegetation. To do so, get a vegetation management property report. This report will provide maps of protected vegetation and koala priority areas and habitats. This information will help you determine the necessary action for your clearing activities. Don’t increase your tree removal cost you a fine.
We’re here to help
East Coast Mulching is an experienced and respected tree removal company on the Sunshine Coast. The cost of tree removal especially for large trees on your property, and be high even without factoring in the price of a fine.
Our tree felling and tree stump removal expertise is unmatched. We can assist with clearing projects of all types with our sustainable and cost-effective tree services. We have the most competitive tree removals price on the market. Contact us today for a tree removal quote if you need a land clearing and tree specialist.