Land and soil

Soils are a non-renewable resource and are vital to Southland's productive capacity. They sustain plant and animal production, can maintain or enhance water and air quality, and support human health and habitation.

When the physical, chemical and biological performance of soils is optimised, they are able to soak up rain and contaminants. Even if the soil structure is good, if not well managed, it threatens agricultural productivity, air and water quality.​

The issues

Poor water quality in lowland streams and rivers in Southland has been linked to the rapid intensification of land use. Scientific studies have shown that soil and water quality is strongly linked to land use and land management practices.

What we are doing

Focus Activity Farm Plans

We are offering Focus Activity Farm Plans for all farm types across Southland. A Focus Activity Farm Plan is an environmental plan that provides farm-specific good management practice advice and recommendations for your property. As part of the plan, you'll receive colour aerial photo maps detailing soil types, waterway locations and winter grazing paddocks, along with factsheets and recommended actions for your farm.

Find out more about Focus Activity Farm Plans here.

Southland Science Programme

Environment Southland is investing in a comprehensive science programme to build a better understanding of Southland's river catchments.

The programme will fill the gaps in our knowledge of how Southland's waterways function and how the ecological communities respond to the pressures from different urban and rural land use.

By better understanding how land use has changed in Southland and where change has occurred, scientists can better understand the complexities of environmental degradation across the region.

A next step involves more detailed research about nutrient loss relating to different land use activities. This will allow us to understand and manage Southland's land and water resources more effectively.

Find out more about the science programme here.

What you can do

Reports & factsheets

Southland was colonised relatively early in New Zealand’s history and has undergone a dramatic change in vegetation cover over the past 150 years. Download the Land Use Change - Agriculture factsheet to read more about this change.

Poor water quality in lowland streams and rivers in Southland has been linked to the rapid intensification of land use. Scientific studies have shown that soil and water quality is strongly linked to land use and land management practices. Download the Land Use Change – Environmental Impacts factsheet to read more about this linkage.

Southland is home to a diverse range of habitat types, ranging from forests to wetlands. However, what we see today is just a fraction of what once covered Southland. Download the Land Use Change – Indigenous Vegetation factsheet to learn more.


Page reviewed: 04 May 2016 12:15pm