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Extent of native vegetation

Key Points | Report Card | Technical Information | Data

Waikato Regional Council monitors changes in the amount of native vegetation on land in the Waikato region using data from satellite photographs (Land Cover Database1). Our Regional Indigenous Vegetation Inventory provides an estimate of historic vegetation (1840).

This indicator shows that:

  • Before European settlement the vast majority of the Waikato region’s vegetation was native.
  • About half was forest and the rest was scrub, tussock, wetland or geothermal vegetation.
  • Today about a quarter of the region is in native vegetation, most of it forest.
  • Lowland and coastal areas have had the greatest changes.
  • Find out more in the Report Card.

Graph showing percentage of the region covered in native forest

  • View this graph’s data and information for each district council area in the Waikato region.
  • Most of the current data were collected in February and March 1996. Data covering the Coromandel Peninsula and lower Hauraki Plains were collected in November 1994.
  • Historic (1840) vegetation was reconstructed in 19952 using settler accounts and maps, soil maps and interpretation based on current extent and early aerial photographs.
  • View our maps of the extent of native forest, scrub and tussock in 1840 and today.


  1. Land cover data supplied by Terralink International Limited. COPYRIGHT RESERVED.
  2. Leathwick, J. Clarkson, B. and Whaley, P. 1995: Vegetation of the Waikato Region: Current and Historic Perspectives. Landcare Research Contract Report LC9596/022. Landcare Research, Hamilton.

Updated 8 December 2011