The February 2004 storm that struck the Manawatu, Rangitikei, Wanganui and Tararua Districts caused erosion in hill country, and flooding, sedimentation and stream course changes in the lowlands. Unsustainable land use of hill country was a major factor contributing to this damage and is now one of four major issues identified by Horizons Regional Council in their draft Horizons One Plan. The Council is currently examining options to reduce hill country erosion risk. One of the first tasks is to (better) define and identify land that is highly erodible. This will enable the Council to direct both regulatory and non-regulatory effort towards those parts of the region where land use and/or land management changes may be required. At the farm scale this will include the application of rules for vegetation clearance and land disturbance and the encouragement of sustainable management practices through a Whole farm Planning process as currently proposed under the Sustainable Land Use Initiative.
This work undertaken by Landcare Research for Horizons Regional Council provides guidelines for HEL recognition. The types of erosion are described, criteria for assessing erosion severity are listed and a table of Land Use Capability units that meet the Horizons criteria for HEL are presented.
Definitions of types of erosion, criteria for deciding erosion severity and the selection of highly erodible LUC units were derived by reference to four main sources (Eyles 1985; Fletcher 1987; Fletcher et al 1994 and Jessen et al 1999) and from the experience of the authors in erosion mapping and erosion process research.
The regional scale map of HEL was derived as follows:
This work provides Horizons Regional Council with the following:
Defining Highly Erodible Land for Horizons Regional Council
Mike Page, James Shepherd, John Dymond, Murray Jessen
Landcare Research NZ Ltd
Palmerston North, New Zealand, December 2005
Prepared for Horizons Regional Council, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Landcare Research Contract Report LC0506/050
Dymond JR, Ausseil A-G, Shepherd JD, Buettner L 2006. Validation of a region-wide landslide risk model. Geomorphology 74: 70–79.