In the future, landscapes will contain mosaics of land use that are more resilient, healthy and prosperous than today

Future Intro Image

Science Theme Leader

Susie McKeague – Director, Farm Environmental Consulting

New Zealand’s agricultural landscape is dominated by large farms that produce single products, on land classified according to its maximum capability. Over time, in many cases this has resulted in undesirable environmental outcomes.

Future Landscapes researchers have developed the concept of “land use suitability” to describe not just the land’s capability to grow a product, but also consider impacts on soil and waterways, and economic, social and cultural outcomes. We apply a te ao Māori interconnected and intergenerational perspective which adds depth to this approach.

Our research will give land owners and regional councils the tools and models to identify distinct ‘zones’ of land according to a precise understanding of the sources and flows of contaminants, backed by reliable data. We are identifying and testing novel production systems to give farmers, growers and mana whenua a greater choice of profitable land use options.

Our research will help land owners choose the right product to grow or farm in the right place, developing a diverse ‘mosaic’ of land uses that are more resilient, lead to healthier land and water, and provide more income security than today.

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Our Goal

The land and water in our productive environment is in a state that reflects our values as New Zealanders and meets the expectations of those abroad. Decisions on land-use change and management practices are able to be made with confidence, leading to measurable and substantial improvements in catchment land and water quality.

Future Landscapes Projects

Shutterstock 1031980621New Zealand, South Island, pine forest near Wakefield in the north of the south island.

Visualising Forestry Harvesting Cycles

Future risk planning through the visualisation of forestry harvesting cycles
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Kids & Co Photos / Laura Bolt / TrueStock

Matarau: Empowering Māori Landowners in Land Use Decisions

Providing accessible and useful data to support Māori landowners to prioritise land-use options
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Next Generation Systems

Identifying next generation primary production systems and opportunities to change the face of farming
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This project has produced
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Faecal Source Tracking

Identifying the sources of faecal contamination in waterways, and identifying naturalised Escherichia coli to help establish water quality for swimming
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Phosphorus Best Practice

Investigating whether current fertiliser and effluent guidelines and policy are strong enough to prevent phosphorus loss
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Healthy Estuaries

Assessing the interactions between loadings of different contaminants from freshwaters on the health and functioning of estuaries
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The Duke of Edinburgh (third from left) observes border dyke irrigation at the Winchmore Research Station Irrigation Scheme. In a border dyke irrigation system, when water is diverted from the main water races into smaller ones, a temporary dam must be created at the outlet to each border, so the water spills through onto pasture. In this image the outlet behind the worker in the water has been closed with a board, the pasture on the right of it has been flattened by the previous flow of water. The worker is lifting a corner of the canvas dam to allow water to flow down to the next temporary dam.

Linking Legacies to Wai

Accounting for lag times and natural concentrations of contaminants in groundwater
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Monitoring Freshwater Improvement Actions

Monitoring the effectiveness of interventions and mitigation actions on freshwater improvement
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This project has produced
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Pohewa Pae Tawhiti

Supporting land-use change decisions that are consistent with landowner long-range visions and priorities, through an integrated framework that incorporates tools, models and innovative guidelines and…
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