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Land categorisation and the land management framework

Under the Land Management Framework, the categorisation of land determines the native vegetation management options available to landholders. Rural land in NSW is categorised into three main categories: Category 1 (exempt land), Category 2 (regulated land) and excluded land. A native vegetation regulatory map is being developed by Office of Environment and Heritage and will be available in the future.

What do the categories mean?

Category 1 - Exempt land is land that allows native vegetation clearing without approval from Local Land Services.

Category 2 land is divided into:

Category 2 - Regulated land, which is any Category 2 land that is not Vulnerable or Sensitive regulated land. Authorisation for native vegetation clearing may be required from Local Land Services.

Category 2 - Vulnerable regulated land is land where clearing of native vegetation may not be permitted under the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018, and a limited suite of allowable activities apply).

Category 2 - Sensitive regulated land - where clearing is not permitted, and

Excluded land refers to land outside of the land management framework.

Each land category is determined by various criteria as outlined in the Local Land Services  Act 2013 (see Table 1 below).

Can I change the category of my land?

You can apply for a review of categories on your land and it may be possible in certain circumstances to re-categorise:

  • if land was lawfully cleared between 1990 and the commencement of the new Land Management Framework (25 August 2017)
  • if land has been cleared in accordance with a private vegetation plan, or development consent or approval
  • after applying the Continuing Use, Equity and Farm Plan parts of the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code, or
  • if land identified as Old Growth or Rainforest has been assessed by as not meeting the criteria for those communities.

What is the process for re-categorising land?

The following mapping layers are available on the Office of Environment and Heritage mapping portal:

  1. Category 2 - Vulnerable regulated land  
  2. Category 2 - Sensitive regulated land
  3. Excluded land

You are able to view these land categories on their property and request a review if these categories appear inaccurate.

For the remaining categories, Category 1 - Exempt land and Category 2 - Regulated land, you can determine which category of land applies to your land but you must consider the criteria shown in the table below.

Table 1 - Criteria that applies to each land category

Land categories


Exempt land (Category 1)

Land cleared of native vegetation as at  1 January 1990 or lawfully cleared after 1 January 1990

Low conservation grasslands

Land containing only low conservation groundcover (not being grasslands)

Native vegetation identified as regrowth in a Property Vegetation Plan under the repealed Native Vegetation Act 2003

Land bio-certified under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act)

Regulated land (Category 2) (not including vulnerable or sensitive land)

Land not cleared as at 1 January 1990 or unlawfully cleared after 1 January 1990

Native vegetation grown with the assistance of public funds (but clearing under the Land Management Code is not permitted on such land while the agreement providing the funds is in force)

Land that was subject to a private native forestry property vegetation plan (PVP) that is no longer in force

Grasslands that are neither low nor high conservation grasslands

Travelling stock reserves, apart from travelling stock reserves in the Western Division.

Land that is (or was previously) subject to a Private Native Forestry Plan or Private Native Forestry Property Vegetation Plan.

Vulnerable regulated land (subcategory of Category 2)

Steep or highly erodible land

Protected riparian areas

Land susceptible to erosion, or land that is otherwise environmentally sensitive.

Sensitive regulated land (subcategory of Category 2)

Land subject to a private land conservation agreement

A set aside under the Land Management Code

Land subject to a biocertification conservation measure

Land comprising an offset under a Property Vegetation Plan or set aside under a code under the Native Vegetation Act 2003

Coastal wetlands and littoral rainforests (Coastal Management Act 2016)

High conservation grasslands

Core Koala habitat identified in a  plan of management (Koala Habitat Protection SEPP)

Critically endangered plants and critically endangered ecological communities

Ramsar wetlands (EPBC Act)

Land subject to remedial action or conservation measures under the BC Act

Land subject to a property, trust or conservation agreement

land recommended for listing as an Area of Outstanding Biodiversity Value

Conservation Areas under the Southern Mallee Land Use Agreement

Native vegetation that must be retained under the Plantation and Reafforestation Act 1999

Land subject to a condition of development consent requiring the land to be set aside for conservation purposes under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979

Rainforest and old-growth forest.

More information

To find out more about native vegetation and your options under the Land Management Framework:

  • contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299
  • email
  • go to
  • call in to your nearest Local Land Services office and ask for a Sustainable Land Management officer

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