The Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation, and the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge co-funded research to look at contemporary losses of wetland extent in New Zealand. This report provides recommendations and a suggested path forward to improve our ability to monitor and report on national wetland extent.
Currently, New Zealand is unable to adequately report on wetland extent and change. State of environment reports seeking to compare pre-human wetland extent with contemporary extent rely on published work by Ausseil et al (2008) based on provisional data from 2003 and earlier. There is a need for an enduring solution to ongoing wetland monitoring and reporting, utilising the strengths of existing databases, and existing and planned monitoring processes.
Wetlands have not yet been comprehensively, reliably, and accurately mapped at the national level, but the elements necessary to achieve this exist in two national databases (WONI and LCDB) and in sub-national datasets maintained by some regional councils. This report examines the two national layers (WONI and LCDB v4) and regional council layers, and proposes a national spatial framework that would serve New Zealand’s monitoring and reporting needs.