More than 250 Australian scientists have called on the Australian Labor Party to end land clearing in this term of government—calling the broad-scale destruction of native woodlands, grasslands, forests and wetlands “the single biggest threat to biodiversity in Australia”. 

Over the last three years Australia is still averaging more than half a million hectares of clearing—that’s 1.5 million hectares in Queensland and NSW alone in the last three years—an area bigger than Greater Sydney. And for every 100 hectares bulldozed, as many as 500 native mammals, 2000 birds, and 15,000 reptiles die. That adds up to tens of millions of native animals killed directly every year by the bulldozing of their homes.

But the destruction doesn't end there, the fragmentation of their homes leaves those animals exposed to predation by feral animals and localised extinctions caused by drought, bushfires, ecosystem collapse and disease.

Not only is it impossible for Australia to tackle climate change and end extinction without first ending land clearing, it's critical to communities, society and our economy which all depend on functioning ecosystems. Land clearing degrades the soil we need to grow crops, adversely affects local rainfall, harms pollinators like bees, and pollutes waterways. As solutions go, it doesn’t get much more straightforward than this: to end extinction and limit global boiling to 1.5 degrees Celsius we simply must stop the bulldozers.

Read the full letter below: 

Let's end land clearing

Last year in Montreal, the world made what could prove to be an historic agreement to reverse the global nature crisis. Australia played a vital role in securing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and its mission: to halt and reverse biodiversity loss to put nature on a path to recovery. 

As researchers who study, document and work to recover Australia’s plants and animals, insects and ecosystems, we are keenly aware of the value of nature to Australians and the world. 

Australians love our unique nature: we put it on our money, name our sports teams after it, and spend time in it with our families. For First Peoples, it is inseparable from culture and identity.

Australia’s nature, in all its diversity, is also pivotal to the functioning of earth’s systems. The state of nature has profound implications for society and the economy – for our health and wellbeing, our lifestyles and our prosperity.

But nature in Australia is in desperate trouble.

As scientists and experts, we have sounded the alarm for more than 30 years that the large-scale destruction of native woodlands, forests, wetlands and grasslands was the single biggest threat to the nation’s biodiversity.

That is still the case today.

Across the nation, 500,000 hectares or more of land are cleared annually. For every 100 hectares of native woodland cleared, about 2000 birds, 15,000 reptiles and 500 native mammals will die. 

Land clearing and native forest logging exacerbate climate change, affect local temperature and rainfall, degrade soils, increase pollution in freshwater streams and marine environments like the Great Barrier Reef, harm pollinators like native bees, and worsen the impact of invasive predators like cats and foxes.

The mission agreed in Montreal is urgent. Our commitment to end extinction could be world-leading. But the legacy of this government will be written by the actions it takes to halt the current drivers of nature destruction and repair past damage. 

The mission to recover nature can only be fully realised by respecting the rights and honouring the knowledge of First Peoples in land management and forest stewardship.

We urge you to commit, and act, to end broad-scale land clearing and native forest logging in this term of government. Ending extinction, limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and reversing nature’s decline depends on it.

For the full list of scientist signatories visit 

Nat Pelle

Business and Biodiversity Campaign Lead