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Chapter 1: Environmental reporting

Purpose of environmental reporting

People who make decisions about the environment need accurate and reliable environmental information. State of the environment reporting can provide this. It also helps us to know whether policy initiatives or environmental management approaches are effective over time.

Environmental indicators

We cannot continuously measure every aspect of our environment, so environmental reporting relies on using a range of ‘indicators’ to assess the overall state of the environment in a practical, cost-effective, and meaningful way.

In the same way that gross domestic product is an indicator of economic activity, each environmental indicator allows us to measure and report on a specific aspect of the state of our environment.

Ecological classification systems

Ecological classification systems can be used alongside environmental indicators to group and extrapolate data across geographical areas that are environmentally similar. Data from a limited number of monitored sites can then be used to build a national picture of the state of the environment.

Creating a national picture

This report uses a set of core national environmental indicators and ecological classification systems to present a national picture of key aspects of the New Zealand environment.

This national picture will highlight for decision-makers and environmental managers the aspects of our environment that have come under particular pressure and require priority attention.