Vegetation condition was poor for a second year, along with below-average farming conditions and tree cover.
National vegetation condition was the poorest since 2002: 7% lower than the previous year and 10% below the 2000–2018 average.
Vegetation condition was poorest since at least 2000 in northeast NSW, southeast Queensland and across much of the arid interior.
Vegetation growth rates, estimated from weather and satellite data, were the lowest since 2002. Nationally, growth was 10% less than the previous year and 17% below the 2000–2018 average. Growth conditions were good in the northernmost parts of Northern Australia.
Farming conditions improved slightly compared to the previous year due to improved conditions in Victoria. However, vegetation productivity remained below average 2000–2018 levels in grazing (-32%), irrigation (-28%) and dryland cropping (-24%).
Growth was also below average in native and plantation forestry (-12%) and natural environments (-19%).
Drought and fire reduced tree cover across much of the country. Tree cover, the canopy fraction of vegetation >2 m tall, declined for a second year, falling 13% or 8 Mha from 2018, to 8% below the 2000–2018 average.
The largest tree cover losses occurred in the NSW-Queensland border region. Losses were greatest in natural environments (4.0 Mha) and on grazing land (3.3 Mha).
Bushfires affected large areas of closed forest in NSW. Vulnerable vegetation types affected by the fires in 2019 and January 2020 included 35% of all rainforests, 41% of wet sclerophyll forests and 53% of heathlands.
source: Australia’s Environment in 2019 Summary Report (link)