The sustainable management of land is essential to provide for the well-being of existing and future generations. Regional Councils have a legal responsibility to gather information and monitor natural resources so they can carry out their statutory functions. Accordingly, there is a fundamental requirement for Bay of Plenty Regional Counil to monitor the land resource of the Bay of Plenty to determine whether it is being used in a prudent and sustainable manner.
Monitoring the land resource will involve two primary components:
- soil management issues
- status of the region's indigenous biodiversity.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council is currently developing long-term monitoring programmes to enable the gathering of relevant information for our region. These programmes will initially focus on key issues related to soil health, soil intactness (soil depth) and indigenous forest extent.
Wherever possible the regional programmes will be developed in consultation with land users, other regional councils and the Ministry for the Environment. In this way efficiencies will be gained where they either can complement any existing or planned industry monitoring programmes, or are contributing to a nationally co-ordinated monitoring programme.
Techniques for gathering the information are likely to range from utilising satellite imagery and aerial photography through to soil samples being taken from a range of representative sites throughout the region.
The information gathered from these programmes will be used in a number of ways:
- To assist in identifying issues related to land use and management at a regional level.
- To assist dialogue between land users and Bay of Plenty Regional Council to resolve these issues.
- To provide regional data to the Ministry for the Environment for national monitoring purposes.
These programmes will be progressively developed and implemented as measurement technologies evolve and resources become available.