Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


State of native forests revealed for first time

State of native forests revealed for first time

Stunning new maps, derived directly from satellite images, reveal that nearly a quarter of New Zealand’s land area is taken up by indigenous forest. Landcare Research’s EcoSat forest maps show native forests cover nearly 66,000 km2, 24.8% of the country. Beech forests are the most widespread, followed by podocarp-broadleaved forests, which include conifers such as rimu, totara and matai, and broadleaved trees like rata, tawa and rewarewa.

Click for big version

EcoSat "summary" maps of North Island and South Island (including Stewart Island) forests, at 1.750,000 scale.

Click for big version

EcoSat maps have revealed that indigenous forests make up almost a quarter of New Zealand's land area.

EcoSat maps can be viewed in greater detail at:

Exotic forest makes up 7.7% of our land area. Landcare Research scientist John Dymond says having a definitive nationwide measure means we will be able to tell if native forests are increasing or decreasing over time.

“This is crucial for those who need information on biodiversity and maintaining natural habitats. It is also important for monitoring New Zealand’s response to climate change targets through the amount of carbon dioxide being stored in indigenous trees.

“Additionally, district and regional councils want to monitor their policies on forest clearance, to make sure we are not losing what little remains of our precious lowland forests.” Mr Dymond says New Zealanders can take heart in the amount of native forest.

“It’s not as good as Germany’s 30% or Brazil’s 60%, but it compares well with the Netherlands’ 10% and the UK’s 8%.” Mr Dymond says he was surprised by some features of the maps.

“They underscore the loss of lowland forests nationwide. The east coast of the South Island is particularly denuded.

“Ecologists often talk of a ‘beech gap’, because beech is plentiful in the south and north of the South Island but is missing from the centre. Our maps show that east of the main divide in the centre of the South Island, where beeches would be expected, there is actually little of any sort of forest.”

“Also, in Coromandel there is much more kauri forest than in Northland.”

The EcoSat programme is a world-first achievement that makes satellite pictures easier to interpret. New Zealand’s often hilly terrain creates shadows, which makes computer interpretation of images slow and expensive. EcoSat “flattens” the effects of topography, so environmental features such as vegetation can be identified more easily.

The maps are available to a scale of 1:50,000, far more detailed than their nearest equivalent – maps at 1:1,000,000 produced 15 years ago. Summary maps at a 1:750,000 scale can be obtained from Landcare Research.

The satellite imagery for the maps was collected between 1999 and 2003. The maps will be updated in 2010.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


I Sing The Highway Electric: Charge Net NZ To Connect New Zealand

BMW is turning Middle Earth electric after today announcing a substantial contribution to the charging network Charge Net NZ. This landmark partnership will enable Kiwis to drive their electric vehicles (EVs) right across New Zealand through the installation of a fast charging highway stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill. More>>


Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>


Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>


Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>


Half A Billion Accounts, Including Xtra: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>


Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news