New Zealand’s history of land management has resulted in:
Considerable progress has been made towards more sustainable land production, however significant problems still remain.
Awareness of soil erosion on hill country in New Zealand was lifted by storm events in the 1930s and 1940s. These and subsequent storms started soil erosion on a massive scale on recently developed pastoral hill country.
Strong northwest winds on the dry plains of the east coasts of the North and South Islands have caused tremendous soil loss. This form of erosion has been bought under control only since the control of rabbits and establishment of windbreaks and vegetative cover on bare earth.
The Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act was passed in 1941, spurred by fears that low-lying communities would be inundated if soil erosion continued unchecked. This Act established catchment boards and enabled the appropriation of government and local body funds to assist with the construction of erosion control measures and flood protection works.
The Ministry is involved with the following programmes that aim to assist local government and landowners develop more sustainable land use practices:
The New Zealand government is funding the East Coast Forestry Project to assist the remediation of severely eroded land, concentrating on the worst affected 60,000 hectares, mostly north of Gisborne. Around $6.5 million has been put aside each year for the next 20 years.
Money is available to landowners who wish to retire badly eroded land from farming, initiate conservation plantings, or put the land into commercial plantations.
For more information visit the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry website.
Last updated: 17 September 2007