People and environment
With the growth in population coupled with economic development, New Zealand’s land has changed enormously in the last 100 years. Recent land-use intensification has resulted in widespread declines in ecosystem condition. Current concerns over biodiversity loss and land degradation reflect people’s role in accelerating the pace and extent of environmental change. In view of the magnitude of human impacts on the environment, efforts to understand and respond to environmental change are of critical importance. Recent integration of indigenous knowledge along with enhanced understanding of socio-economic trends has provided new opportunities for sustainable land-use management and improved environmental quality.
Effective policy, whether it is public policy or internal organizational policy, is an important component of resource management and national/regional planning, through its influence on the quality of decision-making.
Sustainable land management focuses on maintaining and enhancing the unique landscapes and waterways that are a feature of New Zealand, ensuring that we continue to have productive land to farm and healthy landscapes to explore.
Contemporary Māori knowledge on resource management and principles of kaitiakitanga can be woven together with science and Māori-specific methodologies for assessing environmental quality to develop a practical resource-management framework.
Economic and other resource uses and values are increasingly coming into conflict, creating difficult problems of resource governance. Conflicts over water (re)allocation are increasing, as are problems of water pollution.