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Significant Natural Areas of the Hauraki District Terrestrial and Wetland Ecosystems

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Report: TR 2010/08
Authors: Gerry Kessels, Suzanne Porter, Britta Deichmann and David Riddell (Kessels & Associates), Ryan Clark and Derek Phyn (Environment Waikato)

Abstract

Environment Waikato (EW) aims to prioritise areas in the Waikato region, for biodiversity management based on different ecosystems.  The primary objective of this project is to develop a GIS-based data set that incorporates the existing spatial information of natural areas, describe key vegetation types, assessment management requirements, ownership status and to assign a biodiversity ranking to spatial units derived from their contributions to national and regional biodiversity goals.  The natural areas which meet the appropriate ranking criteria have been termed “Significant Natural Areas” or SNA’s.

Only indigenous terrestrial and freshwater wetland natural areas were assessed as part of this inventory.

As this was a desktop exercise, no detailed field work was undertaken and the assessment was carried out using aerial imagery and existing information sourced from reports and databases.   The following tasks have been undertaken as part of this analysis:

  • All key documents, databases and maps were reviewed to enable a gap analysis to be undertaken of where further work is required.
  • EW mapped and digitally captured all indigenous vegetation areas using recently taken aerial photographs and incorporated it into its GIS database.
  • Analysis of the indigenous vegetation and fauna characteristics of the Hauraki District was undertaken with respect to the relevant provisions of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and in particular the ecological significance assessment criteria of the Waikato Regional Policy Statement.
  • The SNA boundaries were mapped directly in EW GIS system over the relevant aerial imagery and vegetation boundaries.

Approximately 35,454 ha (or 30%) of the District can be considered as being covered with indigenous vegetation and habitats of one form or another.

The largest indigenous vegetation class are “Indigenous Forest/Broadleaved Indigenous Hardwoods” (24,788 ha) and “Manuka or Kanuka” (8,827 ha).  The large areas of indigenous forest are found within the Coromandel and Hapuakohe Ranges while the Manuka or Kanuka class is so dominant because the majority of the extensive Kopuatai and Torehape Peat Domes are classed as this land cover type.

Two hundred and six Significant Natural Areas were identified within the Hauraki District comprising of approximately 32,677 ha of land (or 28% of the District), containing habitat for at least forty-nine nationally threatened plants and animals.  Approximately 25,824 ha or 79% are protected by DoC, Council reserves and QEII/Nga Whenua Rahui covenants, leaving some 6,853 ha (21%) of unprotected SNA’s largely on privately owned land.

One site of International Ecological Significance and four sites of National Ecological Significance are located within the Hauraki District.

Significant Natural Areas of the Hauraki District - Terrestrial and Wetland Ecosystems
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Table of contents

  Executive summary 1
2 Project objectives 2
3 Methodology 2
3.1 Data set accuracy 6
3.1.1 Geographic extent 6
3.1.2 Positional accuracy 6
3.1.3 Attribute accuracy 6
4 Natural areas of Hauraki district 7
4.1 General overview 7
4.1.1 The ecological districts within Hauraki district 7
4.1.2 Main vegetation types 7
4.2 Hapuakohe ecological district 12
4.2.1 Background 12
4.2.2 Bioclamatic zones 12
4.2.3 Geology and soils 12
4.2.4 Vegetation 12
4.2.5 Significant flora 12
4.2.6 Significant fauna 12
4.2.7 Key protected natural areas 12
4.3 Hauraki ecological district 12
4.3.1 Bioclimatic zones 13
4.3.2 Geology and soils 13
4.3.3 Vegetation 13
4.3.4 Significant flora 13
4.3.5 Significant fauna 14
4.3.6 Key protected natural areas 14
4.4 Waihi ecological district 14
4.4.1 Background 14
4.4.2 Bioclimatic zones 14
4.4.3 Geology and soils 14
4.4.4 Vegetation 14
4.4.5 Significant flora 15
4.4.6 Significant fauna 15
4.4.7 Key protected natural areas 15
4.5 Te Aroha ecological district 15
4.5.1 Background 15
4.5.2 Bioclimatic zones 16
4.5.3 Geology and soils 16
4.5.4 Vegetation 16
4.5.5 Significant flora 16
4.5.6 Significant fauna 17
4.5.7 Key protected natural areas 17
4.6 Hinuera ecological district 17
4.6.1 Background 17
4.6.2 Bioclimatic zones 17
4.6.3 Geology and soils 17
4.6.4 Vegetation 17
4.6.5 Significant flora and fauna/protected areas 17
5 Significant natural area analysis 17
5.1 Bioveg LCDB2 classes 17
5.2 Significant natural areas 18
6 Threatened species within Hauraki district 22
7 Conclusions and recommendations 24
7.1 Conclusions 24
7.2 Recommendations 24
7.2.1 Waihi ecological district 24
7.2.2 Hauraki ecological district 25
7.2.3 Hapuakohe ecological district 25
7.2.4 Te Aroha ecological district 25
  Acknowledgements 26
  References and selected bibliography 27
  Appendix I Scientific names of plants mentioned in the report  
  Appendix II Vegetation and bioclimatic zone definitions  
  Appendix III List of significant natural areas within the Hauraki district  
  Appendix IV Maps of significant natural areas within the Hauraki district