Indigenous cover and protection in land environments

  • Image, Indigenous cover and protection in land environments.

    New Zealand’s land area is 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 much is legally protected, is described by ‘threatened environment’ categories. These categories are informative because they show how past vegetation loss and legal protection are distributed across New Zealand.

    We classified Indigenous cover and protection in land environments as a supporting information.

    Key findings

    Trend not assessed

    In 2012, 31.6 percent (158) of the 500 land environments had less than 10 percent of their indigenous cover left. These environments have undergone the greatest loss of indigenous cover, and are in coastal and lowland areas.

    • The land environments with less than 10 percent of their indigenous cover left, represented 22.6 percent of New Zealand’s land area.
    • 43.2 percent (216) of the 500 land environments had more than 30 percent of their indigenous vegetation left in 2012. These environments represented 57.7 percent of New Zealand’s land area.
    Figure 1

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

    Figure 2

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

    Changes between threatened environment categories do not indicate a genuine change. A change in category may be a due to a change in assignment reflecting data corrections to the New Zealand Land Cover Database and not due to real or ‘on the ground’ change.

    Figure 3

    Definition and methodology

    The Threatened Environment Classification (TEC) is a combination of three national databases: Land Environments New Zealand (LENZ), Land Cover Database (LCDB), and the Protected Areas Network (PANZ-NZ). LENZ defines the land environment categories for New Zealand by their unique climate, topography, and soils. Data on the extent of indigenous land cover come from the LCDB Version 4.0. The area legally protected for the purpose of natural heritage protection was provided by PAN-NZ (Cieraad et al, 2015).

    TEC shows how much indigenous (native) vegetation remains within land environments, and how past vegetation loss and legal protection are distributed across New Zealand's landscape. The classification has not been updated since 2012.

    The 500 land environments in TEC are assigned to six threatened environment categories. These categories are based on the extent of indigenous vegetation and formal protection. ‘Threatened environments’ (categories 1 to 5) are those in which much indigenous vegetation has been cleared and/or only a small proportion of what remains is legally protected.

    The thresholds used to create the TEC categories do not indicate whether a particular level of legal protection or maximum amount of indigenous cover is adequate or sufficient to maintain the biodiversity associated with that environment.

    Data quality

    We classified Indigenous cover and protection in land environments as a supporting information.

    Relevance

    Image, Indirect relevance. This national indicator is a indirect measure of the ‘Land cover, ecosystems, and habitats’ topic.

    Accuracy

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

    See Data quality information for more detail.

    References

    Cieraad, E (2008). How much indigenous biodiversity remains on land under indigenous vegetation? Final report on a pilot study based on existing data. Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC0708/145. Available from the Department of Conservation Information Services, PO Box 10420, Wellington 6143.

    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.

    Archived versions

    See Indigenous cover and protection in land environments (archived April 2018)

    Published 19 April 2018

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