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  Environment » Environmental Information » Environmental indicators » Lakes and wetlands: monitoring and reporting » Extent of freshwater wetlands » Results - data and trends

Results - data and trends

The Excel spreadsheet below contains the source data for this indicator's graph and information.

Download the data file
[XLSX, 18 KB]

Figure 1 shows the location of freshwater wetlands in the Waikato region.

Figure 1: Freshwater wetlands in the Waikato region

Map showing location of freshwater wetlands in region

You can click here to see the above map as a larger PDF [PDF, 1.7 MB].

Total freshwater wetland cover

Today 1.1 per cent of the region's land area remains in freshwater wetlands, totalling 27,484 hectares (one quarter of the pre-European extent). This comprises 19,086 hectares of Herbaceous Freshwater Vegetation, 7,900 hectares of Deciduous Hardwoods, and 498 hectares of Flaxland. Deciduous hardwoods have invaded areas of Herbaceous Freshwater Vegetation since European settlers arrived. 

Figure 2: Amount of the region’s freshwater wetlands by vegetation type (2012)

Graph showing amount of freshwater wetlandsby vegetation type

National Priority 1 Environments

Over 86 per cent of all of the remaining areas of freshwater wetland in the Waikato Region occur within National Priority 1 Environments (23,483 hectares in Acutely Threatened environments and 196 ha hectares in Chronically Threatened environments).

Wetlands are over-represented in these threatened environments because they tend to occur in lowland areas where much of the original native cover has been cleared. Often wetlands are the only natural features that remain in areas of intensively farmed lowlands. Figure 3 shows that while most of the Freshwater Herbaceous Vegetation and Deciduous Hardwoods in the Region occur in threatened environments, Flaxland tends to occur in less depleted or better protected land environments.

Figure 3: Amount of freshwater wetland in National Priority 1 Environments (2012)

Graph showing amount of freshwater wetlandsin National Priority 1 Environments

Location of areas of freshwater wetland

Figure 4 shows which bioclimatic zone each freshwater wetland type occurs in.

In the Waikato region, freshwater wetlands are mainly confined to the lowland bioclimatic zone (below 300 m elevation), where 24,444 hectares (89 per cent of the current extent) of freshwater wetlands occur.

Flaxland tends to occur at higher elevations, with 66 per cent of the total current extent found in the submontane zone (300 to 800 m elevation). Less than 1 per cent of any freshwater wetland vegetation type occurs within the montane zone (800 to 1300 m elevation) and no freshwater wetlands are mapped above 1300 m elevation (subalpine and alpine zones).

Figure 4: Proportion of remaining freshwater wetland in each bioclimatic zone (2012)

Graph showing amount of freshwater wetlands remaining in bioclimatic zone

Most of the region’s freshwater wetlands occur within Waikato, Matamata-Piako, and Hauraki districts (Figure 5). These districts are where the 10,000 ha Kopuatai Peat Dome and the 7,000 ha Whangamarino Wetland Ramsar Wetlands are found. Taupō District also has extensive wetlands associated with the margins of Lake Taupō and Lake Rotoaira.

Figure 5: Area of freshwater wetland in each local authority (2012)

Graph showing area of freshwater wetlands in each local authority area

Trends in extent of freshwater wetland

Figure 6 shows that based on the Land Cover Database there has been no significant change in the extent of each freshwater wetland vegetation type in the Waikato region since 1996. Within the region the data set has recorded no change in extent of Flaxland and total net loss of 7 hectares each of Herbaceous Freshwater Vegetation and of Deciduous Hardwoods in a wetland context. There are many wetland revegetation and restoration projects occurring in the region, however these are not yet at a scale, or sufficiently mature to show up on regional scale vegetation maps.

Figure 6: Change in amount of freshwater wetland since 1996

Graph showing change in amount of freshwater wetlands since 1996

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