Indigenous cover and protection in land environments

  • Image, Indigenous cover and protection in land environments.

    New Zealand’s land area has been divided into 500 land environments, each defined by their unique climate, topography, and soils. The extent to which indigenous vegetation is represented in these different land environments, and how that vegetation is formally protected, is described by ‘threatened environment’ categories. These categories can be monitored to help us understand the effects of land cover change on indigenous biodiversity.

    We classified Indigenous cover and protection in land environments as a national indicator.

    Key findings

     Trend not assessed

    In 2012, 43.2 percent (216) of the 500 land environments were well-protected – that is, more than 30 percent of their indigenous vegetation remain.

    • The land environments with well-protected indigenous vegetation represented 57.7 percent of New Zealand’s land area.
    • In total, 31.6 percent (158) of the 500 land environments were less well-protected, with less than 10 percent of their indigenous cover remaining in 2012.
    • The less well-protected land environments represented 22.6 percent of our total land area.
    • From 2001 to 2012, the threatened environment category changed for 27 land environments. The extent of indigenous vegetation or area protected increased for 14 of these land environments.

    Figure 1

    Note: Threat environment category: 1 = <10 percent indigenous cover; 2 = 10 to <20 percent indigenous cover; 3 = 20–30 percent indigenous cover; 4 = >30 percent indigenous cover and <10 percent protected; 5 = >30 percent indigenous cover and 10 to <20 percent protected; 6 = >30 percent indigenous cover and 20 percent and more protected.

    Figure 2

    Note: Threat environment category: 1 = <10 percent indigenous cover; 2 = 10 to <20 percent indigenous cover; 3 = 20–30 percent indigenous cover; 4 = >30 percent indigenous cover and <10 percent protected; 5 = >30 percent indigenous cover and 10 to <20 percent protected; 6 = >30 percent indigenous cover and 20 percent and more protected.

    Figure 3

    Figure 4

    Note: Changes in indigenous cover and/or protection drive changes in the threat category of land environments. These changes typically take place only in parts of each land environment. The areas mapped do not represent the exact extent of change. Rather, they represent the land environments in which changes occurred.

    Definition and methodology

    The Land Environments of New Zealand (LENZ) database defines the land environment categories for New Zealand.

    The 500 land environments have been assigned to six threatened environment categories. These categories are based on the extent of indigenous vegetation and formal protection. Data on the extent of indigenous cover came from the latest Land Cover Database (LCDB Version 4.0). The area legally protected was provided by the Protected Areas Network – New Zealand (PAN-NZ) dataset (Cieraad et al, 2015).

    Data quality

    We classified Indigenous cover and protection in land environments as a national indicator.

    Relevance

    relevance-direct This national indicator is a direct measure of the ‘Vegetation and other land cover’ topic.

    Accuracy

    accuracy-high The accuracy of the data source is of high quality.

    See Data quality information for more detail.

    References

    Cieraad, E, Walker, S, Price, R, & Barringer, J (2015). An updated assessment of indigenous cover remaining and legal protection in New Zealand’s land environments. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 39(2). Available from http://newzealandecology.org.

     

    Published 21 October 2015

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