Globally, there is growing recognition of the benefits that indigenous peoples can bring to ecology and conservation, drawing on deep spiritual and cultural ties to the environment. The contribution of indigenous peoples and their knowledges is now widely acknowledged as critical to successful efforts to mitigate anthropogenic impacts. In New Zealand, matauranga spans all aspects of indigenous Maori knowledge and is conceptualised, developed and maintained through practice and connection.
The area of indigenous vegetation and habitat remaining on New Zealand’s primary agricultural lands continues to decrease, but it has been difficult to obtain reliable estimates of the extent and causes of loss. We assess change and identify predictors of vegetation clearance in 856 recommended areas for protection (RAPs) from 35 ecological districts in the North and South Islands, New Zealand, for the period 1989 to 2015. Over 27 years, 7152 ha of these RAPs were cleared (2.3% by area), with rates varying over space and time. Native