Koala mapping

Koala habitat maps for South East Queensland

On 7 February 2020, the Queensland Government released regulatory koala habitat maps for South East Queensland (SEQ). The maps support the implementation of the South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy 2020–2025 (PDF, 6.5MB) and koala conservation protections within the planning framework.

Produced by state-of-the-art spatial modelling, the map identifies important koala habitat areas, as well as  koala priority areas. Koala priority areas are large, connected areas that have the highest likelihood of sustaining SEQ koala populations in the long term and will help to focus efforts for habitat protection, restoration and threat mitigation.

Landholders can submit requests to make, amend or revoke a koala habitat area determination. See map amendment requests for more information.

    Habitat definitions

    The koala habitat mapping plays an important part in protecting our koalas. The mapping uses best practice habitat modelling combined with world-leading regional ecosystem and high value regrowth mapping. This allows us to focus conservation efforts where we will have the biggest impact.

    • Koala priority areas are large, connected areas that focus habitat protection, habitat restoration and threat mitigation to areas that have the highest likelihood of safeguarding koala populations in SEQ. Under the koala conservation planning protections, clearing of core and locally refined koala habitat areas within koala priority areas is prohibited, subject to certain exemptions.
    • Core koala habitat areas represent the best quality koala habitat areas, based on modelling of biophysical measures including climate, suitable vegetation for both food and shelter, and koala sightings.
    • Locally refined koala habitat areas include areas of mature vegetation that might not meet the Queensland Government’s criteria for core koala habitat areas (see Spatial modelling for koalas in SEQ (PDF, 8.8MB) ). However, these areas may contain locally important vegetation for koalas, including some areas previously protected under local government planning schemes.
    • Koala habitat restoration areas identify land that could be restored and established as koala habitat areas. These areas feature low threats or constraints, and high conservation opportunities.

    Spatial modelling for koalas in South East Queensland

    The koala habitat mapping uses regional ecosystem and high-value regrowth mapping provided by the Queensland Herbarium.

    It identifies the best quality koala habitat based on modelling of biophysical measures, suitable vegetation for food and shelter, and two decades of records of koala sightings. The mapping is designed to focus conservation efforts on areas that have the greatest chance of supporting koala populations. The methodology underpinning the mapping was supported by the Koala Expert Panel.

    Linking the koala habitat mapping with the Queensland Government’s existing vegetation and ecosystem mapping, and incorporating koala sighting data, allows the koala habitat modelling to be updated and refined as data becomes available.

    The koala habitat maps are updated annually, allowing the Queensland Government to continue to accurately identify the best quality koala habitat and track changes in habitat extent over time.

    To measure our progress, the Queensland Government will work alongside the Koala Advisory Council and other partners to monitor, evaluate and report, via the release of annual reports .

    For further information on the koala habitat mapping, see Spatial modelling for koalas in South East Queensland (PDF, 8.8MB) .

    Getting involved in koala mapping

    South East Queensland residents are encouraged to take part in citizen science projects that will provide new information for the annual koala habitat mapping update.

    If you see a wild koala in Queensland, report it to the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation by using the free QWildlife app for iOS and Android. In the App you will be able to upload photos and information about the date, time and location of the sighting as well as observations about the koala’s appearance and condition.

    Community Pathway

    The Queensland Government is also developing a process to allow local councils and community members to input into the annual update to the koala habitat map.

    For information on how landholders can apply to make, amend or revoke koala habitat area mapping on their property visit map amendment requests.

    Accessing the maps

    Property-scale maps, including koala habitat areas and koala priority areas, can be accessed by downloading a free vegetation management report on the Queensland Government website.

    Koala habitat mapping is also available via the Queensland Globe, an interactive map where users can view a range of spatial layers. To view the new koala habitat mapping:

    1. Zoom in to the area of interest on the map, or use the search function.
    2. On the left-hand side of the screen, click Layers. An All Layers panel will appear.
    3. At the top of the panel, click Add layers.
    4. Click the down arrow next to Environment to expand the list.
    5. Click the down arrow next to Koala plan to expand the list.
    6. Select the map/s that you want to display (note: select both Core koala habitat area and Locally refined koala habitat area to see the areas of koala habitat identified in your area).

    GIS-software users can download the relevant data via QSpatial. Search for “koala” and then download the dataset for "South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy 2019–2024". The package includes GIS data, metadata, PDF maps and the technical report.

    Koala broad-hectare area maps

    Identified koala broad-hectare areas are established under the Planning Regulation 2017.