The objectives was to identify the status of the LENZ environments of the West Coast Regional Council area in terms of the Threatened Environment Classification (TEC), and to quantify the degree of indigenous cover remaining in the West Coast Region; and Buller, Grey and Westland Districts. For this analysis we used the 500level 4 LENZ environments, the 2006 regional and District Council boundaries from the LINZ database (via Statistics New Zealand), and an inhouse Protected Areas dataset compiled in July 2008 from Department of Conservation, QEII covenants, and a number of regional parks. The LCDB2 was used to determine Indigenous cover. The results illustrated that the West Coast Region has only 2.3% of its area within LENZ Level IV environments that are classified as one of the five ‘threatened environments’ (i.e. either Acutely Threatened, Chronically Threatened, At Risk, Critically Underprotected or Underprotected) against a national mean for regions of 45%. Of the 86 LENZ level IV Environments in the West Coast, 11 would be classified as ‘threatened environments’. There are no LENZ Environments in the West Coast region in the category with the highest level of threat (Acutely Threatened: < 10% indigenous vegetation left). In conclusion, much of the area of the West Coast Region is of LENZ environments classified as “Less Reduced and Better Protected” nationally. This means that relatively high proportions of the LENZ environments in the West Coast Region retain some form or indigenous cover, and most have legal protection across > 20% of their land area. Within the West Coast Region, the Buller District contains all the remaining (identified) indigenous cover of land that falls within environments that are nationally classified as ‘threatened environments’. There are similar areas of indigenous cover of At Risk environments in each of the districts. Recommendations A number of environments of limited extent or vulnerable nationally may warrant further protection. A spatial investigation of the remaining Indigenous Cover in these LENZ environments may be warranted. Data suitable for such a study have been prepared during this study but fell outside the scope of the project.
Price, R. & Briggs, C. (2008) Threatened Environment Classification for the West Coast Region, New Zealand. Landcare Research Contract Report: LC0809/076, 16p.