legal protection

An updated assessment of indigenous cover remaining and legal protection in New Zealand’s land environments

It is important, yet hard, to assess how much of the full range of New Zealand’s terrestrial natural ecosystems and biodiversity remains, and is protected from loss. Updated spatial datasets of land cover and protection allow a nation-wide consistent assessment of the loss and protection context of indigenous biodiversity components.

Recent loss of indigenous cover in New Zealand

Recently developed national spatial databases enable improved estimates of how much of the full range of New Zealand’s terrestrial biodiversity pattern remains, its rates of change, and how much is legally protected. Analysis using a classification of land environments derived from soil and climate data layers (LENZ) as a surrogate for biodiversity pattern, and spatial databases of land cover and legal protection, shows extreme (>70%) loss of indigenous cover in 57% of land environments, and poor protection (<20% land area protected) in more than two thirds.