Climate-resilient forestry & horticulture

Dense forest on a steep hillside

Māori within the Waiapu catchment on the East Coast have longterm interests in the land they own and manage. Māori are also heavily invested in primary industries. Projected climate change impacts put these interests at risk. 

The East Coast is already suffering high rates of erosion and sedimentation – the repercussions of previous land management decisions. More extreme rainfall will likely cause erosion to get worse, and degraded soils mean the effects of drought may become more severe.

To help landowners reduce these risks and to maximise their revenue, this project models the economics of different land-use decisions within a range of potential climate change scenarios.

Alongside landowners, we identified multiple land-use opportunities with a range of social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits. These included alternative forestry options (mānuka, kānuka, tōtara, mataī, puriri, harakeke  and kawakawa), horticultural options (honey, olives and olive oil, lemons and hemp) and other medicinal and cosmetic business options derived from mātauranga Māori.

A significant early finding is that for all future climate change scenarios,  re-foresting the land – particularly with indigenous species – results in a significant reduction of soil erosion for the Waiapu catchment. The implications of this finding are complex and raise, for example, issues about inter-generational equity. Nevertheless, this finding also provides a strong case that ecosystem services such as erosion control and carbon sequestration should be paid for – potentially leading to an additional revenue source for landowners.

The strong and diverse relationships built throughout this project ensure our research will be properly shared with landowners and that pathways will continue to be developed for landowners wanting to implement change. 

Project contact: Shaun Awatere, Landcare Research | Ngāti Porou  
Project budget: $250,000
Project duration: October 2015 – September 2017

Research and findings:
Climate Resilient Māori Land Investment decisions to enhance Māori prosperity, Shaun Awatere and Pia Pohatu, Deep South Symposium
Implications of future climatic uncertainty on payments for forest ecosystem services: The case of the East Coast of New Zealand, Shaun Awatere, Ecosystem Services Journal (2018)

 

 

Return to the Vision Mātauranga programme page
Check out the full list of Deep South Challenge projects

 

Latest news and updates

Creating a climate-safe Dunedin through community-driven climate action

2018 may well be the year New Zealand gets serious about adapting to our changing climate. Last year, and the start of this one, gave all of us plenty of opportunities to experience a future in which creeping sea level rise and extreme weather – from drought to flood to surprise storm surges – make day-to-day life more precarious and more expensive.

Stormwater, wastewater and climate change: Impacts on our economy, environment, culture and society

In October 2017, the Deep South Challenge released a report into the state of the nation’s storm and waste water infrastructure, in the face of a changing climate. The report garnered significant media attention – not surprising given the infrastructure is currently valued at well over $20 billion.

The Deep South Challenge awards funding to investigate climate-resilient, high-value crops for the whānau of Omaio

The whānau of Omaio in the Bay of Plenty have joined forces with NIWA researchers to explore the viability of climate-resilient, high-value crops for the rohe. The group has won a $250,000 research grant under the Vision Mātauranga programme of the Deep South National Science Challenge to better understand Omaio’s changing climate and how it might support the community to create a local economy based around a high-value product like kiwi fruit.