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Identification and Analysis of Drivers of Significant Land Use Change


Report: TR 2007/40

Author: Robin Britton and Tony Fenton


Significant key economic, regulatory, environmental and social drivers of land use change and intensification in the Waikato were examined to determine whether forecasting information was available to proactively manage land use change. Environment Waikato policy and science staff and a series of external stakeholders were canvassed to:

  • assess their views of plausible land use changes for the region and the generic environmental effects arising from these
  • identify the key drivers of these changes
  • identify what forecasting options existed.

Five key land use changes of significance were found to be:

  • forestry to dairy/pasture
  • current dairy to intensified dairy
  • any land to renewable energy
  • pasture to forestry
  • any land to urban/rural residential/infrastructure.

Water quality and water quantity and soil health are the key environmental resources most likely to be adversely affected.

The key drivers for change were found to be economic and a complex mix of personal and external (mega) drivers that could not easily be isolated from each other or from other social and economic trends. In addition, there is limited forecasting data publicly available on land use change.

There is no comprehensive approach to monitoring or predicting land use changes within or across various primary industry sectors. There appears to be no consistent data base kept by any national agency or industry group recording changes between land uses. In addition there is limited trend data available at a consistent and robust level across all primary industry sectors for forecasting use although the most useful data for Environment Waikato’s purposes would be that produced by MAF. Most of the limited forecasting being done within the industry sector (such as by Fonterra and forestry) is viewed as sensitive and not available for public use. There was strong interest from most parties interviewed in having 'inter-sectorial' forecasting or monitoring information available, given a common need to have a better understanding of the economic indicators.

The report suggests a list of actions that Environment Waikato could undertake to improve its understanding of likely changes and protect vulnerable areas that traverses information sources as well as developing and strengthening exiting relationships with industries at the heart of land use change and intensification.

Identification and Analysis of Drivers of Significant Land Use Change [PDF, 173 KB]

1 Introduction 3
2 Methodology 3
3 Land use changes 4
3.1 Plausible land use changes 4
3.2 Land use change - investigations and research 9
4 Drivers of land use change 10
4.1 Overview of drivers for land use change 10
4.2 Analysis of land use drivers 15
5 Monitoring change 17
5.1 What forecasting data is currently available 17
5.2 Rate and scale of changes 19
5.3 Possible forecasting indicators 20
6 Conclusions 21
6.1 Conclusions 21
6.1.1 Overview comments 21
6.1.2 Forecasting 22
6.1.3 Policy and regulation 23
6.1.4 Inter-relationships with industry sectors 23
6.1.5 Other management options 24
6.2 Recommendations 24
7 References 26
8 Bibliography 26
Appendix 1: Sources of information related to drivers 27
Appendix 2: List of contacts - organisations contacted during the development of the report 30