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Land clearing in NSW must end for Australia to meet its new COP26 deforestation pledge

The Nature Conservation Council calls on the NSW Government to urgently develop strategies to halt and reverse deforestation in NSW in line with the international agreement signed by Australia yesterday at the COP26 climate conference. [1]

Australia was one of more than 100 countries who signed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use, committing the nation to halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030.

Signatory countries collectively account for more than 80% of the globe’s forests and woodlands and include deforestation hotspots Brazil, the Republic of Congo and Australia.

This is a momentous declaration and must be supported by all levels of government and the private sector,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.   

“Deforestation globally accounts for roughly a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, so the destruction of forests and woodlands must stop to give us any hope of stopping dangerous climate change.

“Regrettably, eastern Australia has been identified by WWF as one of the world’s worst deforestation hotspots, along with Brazil and the Congo. [2]

“Latest land clearing data shows 150 hectares of wildlife habitat is bulldozed or logged every day in NSW, almost twice the average annual rate recorded before the Coalition overhauled nature laws in 2016. [3] 

“The annual Statewide Land and Tree Study (SLATS) data shows 54,500 hectares of forest were destroyed for farming, forestry and development in 2019. 

“Deforestation is not only driving climate change, it is pushing species to the brink, including koalas, which are on track for extinction by 2050 without urgent action.

“By tacking deforestation, the NSW Government can claim a double dividend on climate and biodiversity.”



[1] Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use, COP26, November 2021.

[2] Deforestation Fronts, World Wildlife Fund, 2020.  

[3] Land cover change reporting, DPIE, June 2021  

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