National Priority 1 data and biodiversity maps

This page explains what databases were used to inform National Priority 1, identifying areas of indigenous biodiversity.

National Priority 1 uses Land Environments of New Zealand (LENZ), the Land Cover Database (LCDB) and a national database of land protection status to identify what type of vegetation occurs in each land environment and the broad pattern of protection.

Maps of National Priority 1

National Priority 1 is - To protect indigenous vegetation associated with land environments, (defined by Land Environments of New Zealand at Level lV), that have 20 percent or less remaining in indigenous cover.

National Priority 1 uses Land Environments of New Zealand (LENZ), the Land Cover Database (LCDB) and a national database of land protection status to identify what type of vegetation occurs in each land environment and the broad pattern of protection.

Land Environments of New Zealand

LENZ is a national environment-based classification of ecosystems mapped across New Zealand’s landscape. LENZ is a surrogate for the likely past (pre-human) pattern of terrestrial ecosystems and their associated biodiversity.

The maps of National Priority 1 have been prepared at LENZ Level 4 (ie, 500 land environments) and show land environments with 20% or less remaining indigenous vegetation from a New Zealand wide perspective – yellow shading on the maps.

Land Cover Database

LCDB uses satellite imagery to classify and map New Zealand’s existing land cover, such as urban areas, wetlands and native forest.

The Land Cover Database 2 (ie, satellite images gathered in 2001/02) has been overlaid on the LENZ land environments to show the areas of remaining indigenous vegetation within the land environments – green shading on the maps.

The land protection layer shows areas that are public conservation land, in QEII covenants and in regional parks administered by Auckland and Wellington Regional Councils. These areas are overlaid on the LCDB layer to indicate the areas of remaining indigenous vegetation that are “formally protected” – blue shading on the maps.

About the National Priority 1 maps

This national level information is only part of the biodiversity picture that is needed to inform resource management decisions at the regional and local level.

These maps don't show all biodiversity that fall within council’s responsibilities under the Resource Management Act. They don't identify all indigenous biodiversity that is to be maintained by councils under sections 30 and 31 or identify all significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna under section 6(c) of the Resource Management Act. Rather, from a national level, the maps identify our most rare and threatened environments and ecosystems across the whole of New Zealand. 

The areas of remaining indigenous vegetation are based on 2001/02 satellite imagery. Also, the land protection layer does not show land that is protected through other means such as through regional and local council initiatives or by landowners themselves.

For the reasons outlined above, the maps may not always give a completely accurate picture of what you will find on the ground. They should not be used as a substitute for on the ground survey of the indigenous biodiversity of a particular location.

More information about these classification systems and databases and their limitations is contained in Protecting our Places - Information about the national priorities for protecting rare and threatened native biodiversity on private land.

Reviewed:
08/05/15