New koala habitat maps for South East Queensland
On 7 February 2020, the Queensland Government released new regulatory koala habitat maps for South East Queensland (SEQ). The maps support the implementation of the South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy 2020–2025 and amended koala conservation protections within the planning framework.
Produced by state-of-the-art spatial modelling, the new map replaces previous habitat maps and identifies koala priority areas that provide the best habitat for sustaining koala populations in the long term.
The map will help focus efforts for habitat protection, restoration and threat mitigation towards large connected areas with the highest likelihood of achieving the best conservation outcomes for koalas.
Landholders can submit requests to make, amend or revoke a koala habitat area determination. See map amendment requests for more information.
The new habitat mapping will play 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. 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 sighting records.
- 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). 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.
Locally refined koala habitat
Locally refined koala habitat, although afforded the same protection as core koala habitat, is a temporary protection for two years. The Queensland Government will work closely with local governments to transition locally refined koala habitat areas into the core koala habitat map, where areas meet the core koala habitat criteria, and support local governments to put in place protections for broader wildlife and biodiversity values, where a local government seeks to do so.
Newly identified locally refined koala habitat areas have been published based on updated high value regrowth mapping. This increases the amount of koala habitat areas protected under the regulations across SEQ by 24,467 hectares.
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 new koala habitat mapping with the Queensland Government’s existing vegetation and ecosystem mapping, and incorporating koala sighting data, allows the new koala habitat modelling to be updated and refined as data becomes available.
Vegetation and koala habitat maps will be 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 develop a monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework, deliver a mid-term review, and release annual reports, which will ensure we’re on the right path to achieve our vision.
For further information on the new koala habitat mapping, see Spatial modelling for koalas in South East Queensland .
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.
A new online reporting portal and koala sighting app will be developed and launched in 2021. These online tools can be used to upload information about local koala populations and habitats, including koala sightings.
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 new 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:
- Zoom in to the area of interest on the map, or use the search function.
- On the left-hand side of the screen, click Layers. An All Layers panel will appear.
- At the top of the panel, click Add layers.
- Click the down arrow next to Environment to expand that layer.
- Select Koala plan.
- Select the map/s that you want to display (note: select both koala habitat area (core) and koala habitat area (locally refined) to see the areas of koala habitat protected in your area).
GIS-software users can download the relevant data via QSpatial.
Koala broad-hectare area maps
Identified koala broad-hectare areas are established under the Planning Regulation 2017.
- Oxley Wedge, Brisbane City Council
- Rochedale, Brisbane City Council
- Coomera, Gold Coast City Council
- Ripley Valley, Ipswich City Council
- Kinross Road, Redland City Council
- South East Thornlands, Redland City Council
- Palmview, Sunshine Coast Regional Council