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NZ$4m programme will map land cover

The New Zealand government has committed NZ$4 million to a research project that will map the country's forests, pastures, rivers and cities.

The four-year Land Cover Research Programme, announced on 11 August, will collect information about New Zealand’s rural and urban environment for the natural resources sector, regional councils and research organisations.

The government is providing NZ$1m a year over the next four years for the research, which will use satellite technology, geospatial mapping techniques and advanced computing power.

“Using the best in modern technology, we can thoroughly map New Zealand’s changing land use so we can quantify the pressures on water quality and biodiversity,” said Nick Smith, the environment minister.

The Land Cover Research Programme will build on the Ministry for the Environment’s Land Use and Carbon Analysis System (LUCAS), which was developed to report New Zealand’s carbon emissions to the United Nations.

The programme will be led by a Crown Research Institute, Landcare Research, with the involvement of the Ministry for the Environment, the Department of Conservation, the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry and several regional councils.