Land pests

  • Image, Land pests.

    Animal and plant pests are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity in the land environment. Pest predators (such as stoats and possums) eat eggs, birds, lizards, insects, and snails. Other animal pests (such as deer and goats) damage and kill trees and other plants, and can compete with indigenous animals for the plant fruit and seed. Pest plants can outgrow the local vegetation. All these activities can dramatically change our indigenous and agricultural environments.

    We classified Land pests as a national indicator.

    Key findings

     Trend not assessed

    In 2014, except for some offshore islands and fenced sanctuaries, exotic pests were found over almost all (96.5 percent) land areas of New Zealand.

    • Stoats, possums, and rats were present across 96.5, 94.3, and 94.1 percent of New Zealand, respectively.
    • Red deer and feral goats were present across 57.2 percent and 30.3 percent of New Zealand respectively.
    • Himalayan tahr were present across 7.5 percent of New Zealand (in alpine regions of the South Island).
    • Wilding pines (conifer species, including Douglas fir and lodgepole pine that have spread outside plantations) were present across 6.3 percent of New Zealand.


    Distribution of animal and plant pests, 2014 – interactive map

    Definition and methodology

    Information on pests in New Zealand shows the distribution of some of our most damaging pest animals and plants: red deer, Douglas fir, feral goats, lodgepole pine, possums, rats, stoats, and Himalayan tahr.

    In 2007, existing datasets and Department of Conservation (DOC) expert opinion were aggregated and digitised to produce geographic information system maps of the national distribution of these animal and plant pests. In 2014, these maps were updated by incorporating new distribution data from DOC’s Tier 1 monitoring programme.

    The effect of pests is related to their abundance and distribution. However, this indicator does not include data on the abundance of these pest species due to concerns about the accuracy of the abundance data.

    The Douglas fir and lodgepole pine maps may include intentionally planted plantations.

    Data quality

    We classified Land pests as a national indicator.


    relevance-directThis national indicator is a direct measure of ‘Pests, diseases, and exotic species' topic.


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

    See Data quality information for more detail.

    Supporting information

    Modelled rat and stoat population responses to mast seeding events


    Updated 17 December 2015

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