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Soil conservation

Soil conservation

Updated 26 May 2015 10:34am

About 40 per cent of the Wellington region is erosion-prone hill country.

Soil erosion can be prevented or reduced by improving the way the land is used, perhaps by planting trees, or by allowing native bush to grow in areas that are at risk from erosion. 

Greater Wellington works with landowners to control soil erosion in both hill-country and alluvial plain environments. Individual property conservation plans are prepared for landowners, and erosion control works are carried out on a cost-sharing basis with Greater Wellington.

Six catchment control schemes are administered Greater Wellington in consultation with local communities, and a range of works undertaken to protect community assets from soil erosion and flooding.

This series of photographs shows how a highly-eroding piece of land in the Wairarapa has been repaired during a 25-year period using a mix of exotic planting and natural indigenous re-vegetation.

Land in 1963
Land in 1975
Land in 1979
Land in 1986


For more information or advice on soil conservation, contact Greater Wellington's Masterton office on 06 378 2484.

Greater Wellington also manages 3750 hectares of soil conservation reserve forests in South Wairarapa - Tauanui, Hiwinui, Rough Hill and Stoney Creek.

Stoney Creek 1993
Stoney Creek, South Wairarapa, 1993 (before)
Stoney Creek 1998
Stoney Creek, South Wairarapa, 1998 (after)

The photo on the left shows Stoney Creek, South Wairarapa, in 1993 before rehabilitation work. The photo on theright, taken in 1998, shows river bed rehabilitation work, with pines on surrounding hillsides.

This land is among the most severely eroded in the Wairarapa and requires careful management and repair work.

These areas are managed to protect and conserve the soil and minimise damage to surrounding land through re-vegetation and forest management, while maximising forest revenue to Greater Wellington within these constraints.

A total of 1950 hectares of pine forest has been planted as an erosion control tool on what was grazed pasture land.

The remaining 48 per cent of the area is native regeneration, riparian zones, bare slip and riverbeds or rehabilitation species (non productive).

Stoney Creek 1993
Stoney Creek, South Wairarapa, 1993 (before)
Stoney Creek 1998
Stoney Creek, South Wairarapa, 1998 (after)

Two more views of Stoney Creek, South Wairarapa. The photo on the right shows eucalypt and poplar species interplanted in scrub, with acacia and amenity planting in river bed. Pines are on surrounding hills.

Of the oldest trees, about 20 hectares are felled each year to produce 10,000 tonnes of logs, generating revenue to offset the loans required to manage the younger trees.