Vegetation conditions and tree cover declined from high levels the previous year but remained above average.

National vegetation condition fell 7% compared to the previous year but remained above the 2000–2022 average for a third year, by 3%. Across most of the country, vegetation condition returned from high 2022 values to more average values in 2023. Well above average conditions were observed across most of inland Northern and southeast Australia.
Well below-average vegetation conditions were observed in the Carnarvon region in north-west WA and in inland southern WA. Vegetation growth rates are estimated from a combination of weather and satellite data. National growth rates were the best since the earliest estimates in 2000.
This could be attributed mostly to good monsoon rainfall in Northern Australia and optimal growing conditions in southern Australia due to wet and relatively cool summer months and warm, sunny winter months. The model estimates also include a small long-term increasing trend due to growing CO2 concentrations.
Rank of leaf area index by bioregion
Nationally, growth was estimated to be 4% better than the previous year and 34% above the 2000– 2022 average. Growing conditions were near or above average across the country, except for the north-west coast of WA.
Vegetation primary production was high across all land use sectors. Growth conditions were the best since before 2000 in production forests (45% above 2000–2022 average conditions), natural vegetation (+28%) and intensive agricultural, industrial and urban land uses (+38%). Primary production was near-identical to the high values for previous year in dryland cropping (+49%) and slightly less but still well above average in grazing (+31%) irrigated agriculture (+31%).
National average woody vegetation cover faction
National average leaf area index
National average vegetation carbon uptake
Tree cover, the canopy fraction of vegetation >2 m tall, declined by 5% or 2.9 Mha from the previous year. Values almost equalled those of 2021 and were 7% above the 2000–2022 average extent. Tree cover can decline in response to natural factors such as reduced water availability, pest outbreaks and bushfires or because of human actions such as forest harvesting, thinning or clearing for agriculture or residential development.
Tree canopy cover declined most in northern NSW and southeast Queensland. Tree cover also declined in the remainder of NSW, central and eastern Victoria and south-western WA. Tree cover increased in NT and northern WA. These changes can mostly be attributed to changes in water availability.
Nationally, the net 2.9 Mha decline in woody cover was associated with grazing land (-2.4 Mha), cropland (-1.0. Mha), production forests (-0.3 Mha) and residential areas (-0.1 Mha), while tree cover increased in natural environments (+0.9 Mha).
Percent woody canopy cover change from 2022 to 2023 by local government area