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Land and soil

Waikato rural landscape

Land is important

Our soil is a non-renewable resource. It takes thousands of years for rocks to weather into soils, and hundreds of years for rich organic matter to build up. Our welfare depends, to a large extent, on our soil and climate. Entire civilisations can rise and fall depending on their soil quality.

This means that making the best use of our land and soils is very important for our well being and survival. To use our land wisely we have to understand soil.

Our land is home to many unique plants and animals. They have developed here over millions of years in isolation. But we have already lost many species and could lose more without careful management.

About our land

The Waikato region covers 25,000km2 of land. Over the last 150 years people have made massive changes to this land – forests have been cleared and wetlands drained. We haven’t always understood the effects of what we have done or managed these effects well. Problems include:

Protecting the land

There are many things we can do to improve and maintain soils, such as:

  • planting trees on hills and near streams
  • careful use of fertilisers and pesticides
  • retiring land from unsuitable uses or changing our land uses
  • carefully managing stock
  • reducing cultivation
  • carefully managing water tables
  • carefully planning urban growth and subdivision.

We can protect our native plants and animals by:

  • legally protecting remaining native vegetation
  • fencing to keep stock out of bush remnants
  • controlling plant and animal pests.

More information

Toitu te whenua, whatua ngarongaro te tangata

People come and go, the land remains.