Land use

  • Image, Land use.

    Archived 19 April 2018

    Land use that results in a change from indigenous to exotic cover can cause biodiversity loss and reduce functioning of ecosystems. Using more land for agriculture, forestry, and urbanisation is the main driver reducing indigenous land cover across New Zealand.

    We classified Land use as a case study.

    Key findings

    The area of land used for agriculture, exotic forestry, and urban areas increased 0.7 percent (97,110ha) between 1996 and 2012.

    • Exotic forest increased 11.5 percent (208,146ha), despite a decrease of 26,037ha between 2008 and 2012.
    • Exotic grassland decreased 1.6 percent (173,388ha), despite an increase of 55,922ha between 2008 and 2012.
    • Cropping/horticulture increased 9.6 percent (41,430ha).
    • Urban area increased 10.1 percent (20,922ha).
    Note: Data from the New Zealand Land Cover Database.

    Definition and methodology

    Land-use classes are from the New Zealand Land Cover Database (LCDB) Version 4.0. The LCDB is a national classification and map of land cover and land use based on satellite imagery. We considered using the Land Use New Zealand (LUNZ) database. However, changes in the methodology made this data unsuitable for comparison between years.

    We assume that exotic grassland is mainly used for livestock production. However, we recognise that some areas are used for other purposes, such as turf production.

    See the Land use data in the ‘Related content’ box for the lower-order land classes used.

    Data quality

    We classified Land use as a case study.


    relevance-partial This case study is a partial measure of the ‘Land use and land-use change’ topic.


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

    See Data quality information for more detail.

    Supporting information

    • Farm size
    • Farm numbers


    Published 21 October 2015

  • Share this page
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+