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Protected Plant Surveys


Get expert advice prior to clearing vegetation to help navigate the entire Protect Plant Survey process. We can help you determine whether your property is located within a high-risk clearing area under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and how to complete planned clearing.

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Are protected plants present within your planned clearing area?

Our Botanists are experienced with guiding you through the process and can provide you with information on whether your planned works is within a protected plant trigger area and can determine whether or not exemptions apply in your case. The outcome of this will ascertain whether a Protected Plant Survey (PPS) will need to be undertaken.

We are able to mitigate significant impacts on protected plants whilst facilitating planned works so that an acceptable outcome is determined each time.

Who can we help

If you are planning to clear vegetation within a protected pant trigger area, we can help you. Regardless of the size of your property, we can help mitigate your environmental impact.

We help our clients navigate the PPS process and provide expert advice to help facilitate planned vegetation clearing. Our process involves:

  • Consultation with property owner
  • Determine if property is located in high-risk clearing area
  • Review exemptions under Nature Conservation Act 1992
  • If Protect Plant Survey is required, a botanist will conduct fieldwork & provide report
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The Process

Our team is dedicated to making the whole process easy for our clients and you are kept advised of the progress every step of the way.

Review Your Property For Risk

1. Prior to clearing vegetation, it must be determined whether your property is located within a high-risk clearing area under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

2. Determine if there are exemptions under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 to undertake vegetation clearing that would allow clearing without conducting a protected plant survey.

3. If it is determined that a PPS is required then a standardised survey is undertaken as per the Flora Survey Guidelines – Protected Plants by a qualified botanist to determine if any protected plants are present within the planned works area. This time required to complete the survey is dependent on the size of the proposed clearing area and the number of vegetation types or complexity of vegetation that is present.

What happens once you receive the report

A completed protected plant survey report and a completed exempt clearing notification form must be submitted to the Department of Environment and Science no less than one (1) week prior to clearing and no later than 12 months after survey completion.

If protected plants are located within the works area, then a protected plant clearing permit must be obtained from the Department of Environment and Science. This requires the impact area/s to be defined in relation to the clearing area and a supporting impact management plan is required.  Once it is satisfied that no net loss of the population will be achieved then permit can be granted from the Department of Environment and Science.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Protected Plant Survey?

A protected plant survey (PPS) is a legislative instrument under the Qld Nature Conservation Act 1992 designed to manage the loss of protected flora species ie. those listed as Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered and Critically Endangered. It works by applying a broad mapping system whereby areas deemed to be a high risk of containing threatened plants are marked in green. Any green area is determined to be a “protected plants trigger area”. For any vegetation disturbance planned within a protected plant trigger area it is a legal requirement to undertake a protected plant survey (PPS). Exemptions granted for vegetation clearing under the Vegetation Management Act 1999 are likely to still require a PPS survey to be undertaken. There are exemptions for particular maintenance activities and 4 Elements can provide clear advice on how these may be applied to your project.

Who do you provide PPS for?

We provide this service to local governments undertaking infrastructure works and private landowners

Why do I need a PPS?

If there is a need to clear vegetation within a flora trigger area (green shading on the regulated vegetation property report) then are PPS is likely to be required. There are exemptions listed under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 that permit the clearing of vegetation for routine maintenance activities.

4 Elements Consulting can provide you with information on whether your planned works is within a protected plant trigger area and determine whether or not exemptions apply in your case.

What protected plant services can 4 Elements help with?

4 Elements Consulting can help you with:

  • Protected Plants Surveys
  • Impact Management Plans
  • Protected Plant Clearing Permits
  • Advice on the Nature Conservation Act 1992 in relation to the clearing of Protected Plants
  • Threatened Flora Translocation Management Plans
  • Threatened Flora Management Plans

What locations do you offer this service?

The protected plant survey is relevant to the state of Queensland. 4 elements consulting are a Far North Qld based company with work focused on the Wet Tropics, Einasleigh Uplands and Cape York Peninsular bioregions. However, we are experienced to conduct protected plant surveys across the state in all vegetation types.

How long does a PPS report take?

The field work component will generally be completed within the day for small sites. However, on large properties, a number of days may be required to satisfy the required search effort. The reporting component is generally returned to the client with a two (2) week turn around.

What qualifications are needed to undertake a PPS to property owners?

Any person engaged to undertake a PPS must be considered a suitably qualified person under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 guidelines. This requires a professional qualification or formal training within Queensland plant identification and a minimum of five (5) years’ experience undertaking surveys for threatened flora species.

All botanists at 4 Elements Consulting are approved by the Qld Department of Environment and Heritage to be suitably qualified to undertake protected plant surveys within Qld.

What do I need to prepare to have a PPS site visit?

Generally, the only requirement of the land owner is that site access is available to the botanist conducting the survey. Everything else is arranged by 4 Elements.

Get Protected Plant Survey guidance today

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Choose an environmental company with the right qualifications

It is a requirement of the Qld Department of Environment and Science that a protected plant survey be undertaken by a person deemed to be suitably qualified. Evidence of this qualification must be submitted with each Protected Plant Survey report.

Undertaking protected plant surveys often requires a high level of knowledge in plant ecology and taxonomy. Threatened plants are often difficult to find and may only be detectable at certain times of the year. All botanists at 4 Elements Consulting are suitably qualified to undertake Protected Plant Surveys so the process can be completed correctly the first time.

Not all Protected Plant Surveys locate protected plants. If your project is mapped as being within the trigger area you may not necessarily have protected plants that require management. An experienced and qualified botanist can undertake a time efficient survey to determine this and submit a report to the department that no protected plants were detected.

Key relevant project experience

Past completed Protect Plant Survey projects:

  • Mount Emerald offset site – Located protected plants for determining offsetting value of the property. A total of 11 species were recorded across the rugged 500 ha property.
  • Tully Falls Road Subdivision- Located Vulnerable listed orchid Dendrobium fellowsii within the planned works area. Negotiated an acceptable outcome with Department of Environment and Science which included translocation of 13 individuals from the works area to a designated covenant area.
  • Mount Fox Energy Park- Located the Endangered Iron Malletwood (Rhodamnia sessiliflora) and the Vulnerable Yellow Jacket (Corymbia leptoloma). Both species were mapped in detail to maximise avoidance of these populations in the design of wind farm infrastructure.
  • Bloomfield Track upgrades – Located two Near Threatened species, the ground orchid (Aphyllorchis queenslandica) and Meiogyne hirsuta across the upgrade alignment.
  • High Road Wind Farm – Conduct protected plant surveys locating the Endangeredlisted Melaleuca sylvana, Vulnerable listed Homoranthus porteri and Dendrobium fellowsii and the Near threatened Diuris oporina.

Certifications & Industry Affiliates

Qualified Botanists in the field tagging protect plants while undertaking Protected Plant Survey in Queensland

Why Choose 4 Elements Consulting

4 Elements consulting is a specialist environmental consultancy based in Cairns, North Queensland. The company was established in early 2017 by Mellissa Brown on a strong research and project management background built from over 25 years in the industry.

We are suitably qualified and experienced and have delivered results across the state. Our PPS mitigation process is highly skilled with a number of successful translocation projects completed.

Get your property professionally reviewed

When choosing us to assess your property we can guarantee complete legislative compliance when clearing vegetation on your property. To get in touch with us for a consultation, click the button below to fill out our form and we’ll contact you soon.

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