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Areas of significant indigenous vegetation and habitats of indigenous fauna in the Waikato region

Report: TR 2002/15
Author: Karen Denyer, Wildland Consultants Limited

Abstract

The Resource Management Act, 1991 requires those enacting it to provide for, as a matter of national importance, the protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats for indigenous fauna. The Act does not prescribe how to assess significance. Criteria have been developed for the Waikato region to do this (Appendix 3, Regional Policy Statement). The Act also does not require differential protection of sites based on the degree of relative significance, however assigning a level of significance can help to prioritise the allocation of resources. A process is provided in this document for three options:

  1. Assessment of WHETHER an area of indigenous vegetation or indigenous fauna habitat (a site) is significant (the basic requirement in the Act).

  2. Outlining WHY a site is significant.

  3. Determining HOW significant a site is.

Each successive option requires completion of the previous steps.

Unless a site is already legally protected or has been surveyed recently, a field visit will usually be required to be able to apply assessment criteria to determine whether it is significant indigenous vegetation or significant habitat for indigenous fauna. There are 11 criteria (see Table 1 below) that were developed for the Waikato Regional Policy Statement and tested by references to the Environment Court. A site is considered to be significant if one or more criteria is triggered in Table 1.

Note: to classify a site as “Not Presently Significant” each criterion must have been tested and shown to be not relevant.

If you wish to develop a list or schedule of significant sites within a wider area you can apply the criteria to all sites for which adequate information is available. Development of comprehensive schedules or lists of significant sites can require significant resources and it is difficult to ensure that the coverage is comprehensive, but they also provide detailed information to underpin the allocation of resources for active management.

Sites for which adequate information is not available should be considered to be potentially significant until proven otherwise. Alternatively, sites can be assessed on an “as required” basis.

This is a guideline document, not Council Policy. We welcome feedback and suggestions.

Areas of Significant Indigenous Vegetation and Habitats of Indigenous Fauna in the Waikato Region
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Determine What You Need To Do 2
3 Application of Significance Criteria 3
  3.1 Step 1: Is a Site Significant? 3
  3.2 Step 2: Optional: Why is a Site Significant? 3
  3.3 Step 3: Optional: How Significant is a Site? 4
4 Relative Importance of an area of Significant Indigenous Vegetation or Significant Habitat of Indigenous Fauna 15
5 References 26
Appendix 1: Other Useful Information Sources 27