The removal of a tree can have lasting impacts on the surrounding land. Sometimes this is good, such as when the tree is a dead one that is putting the surrounding trees at risk of disease. Other times, the effects aren't good, such as cutting down a healthy shade tree and exposing shade-loving plants to the hot sun. In an effort to ensure Australia's tree population remains healthy and does not allow pest trees to take over spots where native trees had been, the country has a relatively extensive network of tree regulations. What you encounter when you want to remove a tree varies by state and council, and while there really aren't that many laws, what's there must be followed before you can remove that tree.

Protecting Native Species

Part of the reason for having these regulations is to protect native tree species from excessive clearing and poaching. Laws may be national regulations, such as conservation acts, or they may be a part of Aboriginal heritage laws. Clearing native trees without care could result in species extinction, and the open land could soon find itself besieged by invasive species. Also, those native trees provide specific habitats to other animal and insect species, which would be affected by the removal of those trees. The fact that the tree might be on your property doesn't change how important it is. This is why, when you want to remove a tree that is healthy, you have to check with your local council, your city, your state, and national laws. There's usually a code or permit office in each city that has records of what applies.

Considering Pest Species and Threats to Public Safety

Two major exceptions involve pest species (known pests, not just a tree you consider pesky) and public safety. If the tree you want to remove is a pest species, you don't need permission. You should definitely have the tree positively identified to be sure you're not removing a lookalike. Also, if the tree is an immediate threat to public safety, like a storm-damaged tree that is ready to fall on a building, some jurisdictions may not require you to go through the permit process as long as the work is done in a way that removes only what is necessary. In other words, if the tree's trunk is so damaged that the whole thing might fall, then removing the whole tree would be allowed, but if only branches are damaged and the trunk is fine, then only the branches can be removed.

Meeting National, State-Level, and Local Regulations

When you first look at the permit process, it may seem like you're facing a maze of regulations. Start with positively identifying the tree species and exactly why you want it removed. At that point, you can call that aforementioned permit/code office to determine if your property is subject to specific planning requirements that prevent the removal of the tree, and research your way up the chain of permissions to ensure you can remove the tree.

It's easiest to call a tree removal service because the staff can help you move through this process, if not take care of the permitting themselves (if permitting is necessary). You'd need to call them to remove a large tree anyway; tackling anything taller than you would be too dangerous. Call them early on so they can get started on verifying and obtaining required permits.