What is land management?
Land management is the practice of soil conservation to reduce erosion and therefore maintain sustainable soil and water resources. Erosion is a natural process influenced by geology, slope, climate and vegetation. However, land use can also affect erosion and human modification of the landscape can significantly accelerate the erosion process.
Soil conservation in the Bay of Plenty
The main types of erosion in the Bay of Plenty are sheet and rill surface erosion and gully erosion.
The volcanic ash soils of the Bay of Plenty region are particularly susceptible to erosion if they have insufficient vegetation cover. Erosion problems in the Bay of Plenty are aggravated by changes in land use from forest to pasture, increased stock numbers and surface compaction.
The Ministry for the Environment has identified 680 000 ha of land potentially at risk from some degree of erosion in the Bay of Plenty. About 20% (153 000 ha) of this land is presently used for pastoral farming.
Who is responsible?
Bay of Plenty Regional Council is responsible for promoting soil conservation in the Bay of Plenty under the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941.
Soil conservation has been practised in the Bay of Plenty since the 1960s. Since 1970 soil conservation plans have been implemented on nearly 200 farms with further plans still underway. These plans cover more than 28,000ha and include the retirement of 2600ha of steep erodible land.
Soil Conservation and Environmental Plans are the main tools used by Bay of Plenty Regional Council to encourage land use according to its productive capacity and sustainable limitations.