Under the forest practices act 1995 a forest

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Under the Forest Practices Act 1995 a Forest Practices Plan is required for the clearing of forest vegetation. Small-scale clearing is exempt from the requirements of a Forest Practices Plan, allowing up to 1 hectare of land to be cleared per property per year of non-vulnerable land for new or existing infrastructure development and of vulnerable land to protect public safety or to maintain existing infrastructure such as fences. Vegetation clearance and conversion on King Island is regulated by the Forest Practices Authority. For the purposes of the Plan, clearing of vegetation is considered to be part of the habitat fragmentation and degradation threat. Habitat degradation and fragmentation, including trampling, grazing & hydrological changes About two-thirds of King Island’s vegetation has been cleared for agricultural production since European settlement (Richley 1984, Barnes et al. 2002). In the early twentieth century a number of significant lagoons and swamp forests in the Island’s north were drained (e.g., Egg Lagoon, Southeast Lagoon), impacting in particular on Melaleuca ericifolia swamp forest and Acacia melanoxylon swamp forest; these are communities that may take over 100 years to reach maturity. Much of the dune system that fringes the island’s west coast has also been cleared for rough grazing, with the loss of extensive tracts of coastal scrub, while extensive Eucalyptus globulus forests on the island’s ‘plateau’ have also been decimated, their demise being aided by a series of major burns in the late 19 th and early 20 th century (Finzel 2004). The remaining remnant native vegetation is scattered throughout this rural landscape and most patches are small, fragmented and isolated — at least 8% occur in narrow bands and as small remnants (Barnes et al . 2002). Most patches of vegetation are separated by pasture, with limited or no connectivity, particularly for native species with low mobility, such as snails. The loss of structural and floristic diversity and the low mean age class of forest vegetation communities has had a dramatic impact on the fauna that they support. Many species that rely on old growth elements of forests such as tree hollows or coarse woody debris have become uncommon or threatened. For example, the Southern Hairy Red Snail is restricted to dense piles of twigs and rotting banksia logs found in mature forest communities (Barnes et al. 2002), and the endemic King Island Scrubtit is only found in mature Melaleuca ericifolia swamp forest. King Island Biodiversity Management Plan 23
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As King Island is a small island with relatively little and highly fragmented native vegetation, some species are more susceptible to local (‘island’) extinction than they would be in areas of comparable size on the Tasmanian mainland where larger patches of native vegetation remain (Barnes et al . 2002).
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