Call for urgent protection of wetlands

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says scientific evidence in a new report on long-term wetland loss in Southland shows our wetlands urgently need better protection.

The New Zealand Journal of Ecology details wetland loss in Southland by analysing and comparing satellite images of wetlands taken in 1990 and 2012. This covers a longer timeframe than any other Southland wetland loss study.

Eugenie Sage said “The study’s timeframe is significant. After 1990, legislative tools were put in place to help protect the natural environment such as the Resource Management Act 1991, and agencies such as the Department of Conservation (DOC) and regional councils were formed.”

“Ideally, the rate of wetland loss would decrease with legislative protection, but in fact, the report says the rate of wetland loss in Southland has been 0.5 percent per year since 1990 – that’s a rate of 157 hectares lost per year. And if we add areas that have been partially drained, the rate goes up to a 1 percent decline per year.”

The report is available on the New Zealand Journal of Ecology website