Eye in the sky: The type of satellite image being sent to landowners suspected of illegally clearing their land
Eye in the sky: The type of satellite image being sent to landowners suspected of illegally clearing their land

Satellite spots land clearing

BIG BROTHER is watching you.

So if you’re a landowner on the Northern Rivers, you might want to think twice about cutting down trees on your property without permission.

Satellite images are now being sent to local landowners who may have illegally cleared vegetation.

So far 22 letters have been sent to people in this region, with more expected to be sent in the coming weeks.

The NSW Department of Environment Climate Change and Water started the ‘high-tech education campaign’ this week.

But the department says recipients of the letters do not have to explain themselves.

“The letters and satellite images are purely educational and advisory,” a spokeswoman said.

“If you get a letter, it means we believe that no further action needs to be taken at this stage.”

The department’s director-general, Lisa Corbyn, said they hoped sending the satellite images to landowners would encourage compliance with native vegetation laws.

“We’ve been using satellite technology for some time to identify changes in vegetation cover that may warrant further investigation,” she said.

“Now we are also using the technology as an education tool.

“Advisory letters will be sent to landowners, including before and after satellite pictures showing that vegetation has been cleared on their land.”

The department says more 60 per cent of the native vegetation in NSW has been cleared, thinned or substantially disturbed.

This has led to the extinction of 77 plant and animal species.

It has also caused soil erosion, increased dry land salinity and a decline inwater quality.

But since the introduction of the Native Vegetation Act in 2003, more than 400,000 hectares of native vegetation has been conserved or rehabilitated on private land.



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