The land area of Marlborough covers 10,321 square kilometres. It is a rich and varied landscape with an array of spectacular landforms including mountain ranges, hill country, valleys, coastal margins and offshore islands. These landscapes, in combination with a diverse climate, geology and soils, have created an environment suited to a wide diversity of native plant and animal species, many unique to Marlborough.
The varied nature of our physical environment has enabled people to engage in a wide range of land use activities throughout the region including agriculture, viticulture, forestry and tourism. Our towns, roads and other infrastructure are also important occupiers of the land resource. It is important to recognise that as a community we rely on the use and development of land resources for our cultural, social and economic wellbeing.
However, both rural and urban land use and development have the potential to adversely affect our land resources. For example, in some areas where there has been land clearance activities there is little remaining indigenous vegetation. This is particularly so in southern Marlborough. In other areas animal and plant pest infestations have invaded and damaged both indigenous and production land ecosystems. Some intensive land use activities, if not managed, may result in the deterioration of soil health. Even within the built-up environment we have effects in terms of trying to accommodate needs for open space (reserves), roads, industrial and commercial uses, the removal of waste and our aspirations for residential dwelling.
The investigation and monitoring of things such as the amounts and distribution of indigenous vegetation, the number of contaminated sites, soil quality, changes in land cover/land use and the types and numbers of pests will enable the Council to understand the land resource and react to the pressures facing it.