Perception and attitudes of landowners towards re-establishing native vegetation on private land
native woody vegetation
exotic woody vegetation
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AbstractSince European settlement began in the middle of 19th Century, New Zealand’s native woody vegetation has been significantly reduced through deforestation to meet the demand for agricultural land. The intensification of farming has created greater pressures on the ecosystem and increased the need for re-establishing native woody vegetation on farms to enhance ecological processes. However, there is no tradition of integrating native woody vegetation into farms. Native woody vegetation is often seen to be distinct from the productive landscape, and there is typically a separation between remnant native woody vegetation and production areas. This study aims to identify opportunities for expanding native woody vegetation on private property and the constraints to this happening. This is done by studying the characteristics of farms and farmers, and linking these characteristics to current and potential areas of native woody vegetation on individual farms using a sample of 30 landowners in Canterbury, New Zealand. For each farm, a survey was carried out that collected information on farm and farmer attributes, and farmer perceptions about the importance of environmental issues and native woody vegetation. Each farmer was also asked to identify current and potential areas of native woody vegetation on their farm using a map, and to describe why the native woody vegetation would be there. Individual farm and farmer data is used to create a district map of potential native woody vegetation cover using GIS. It was found that landowners’ behaviour around native woody vegetation on their land is clearly influenced by age, income dependency from the farm, property size, education and their attitude. Landowners with no economic interest hold more pro-environmental attitudes, are more highly educated, and are interested in increasing the native woody vegetation cover. Conversely, with increasing economic interests of landowners, woody vegetation or native woody vegetation appears to play an increasingly smaller role on their property and is associated with less pro-environmental attitudes, more basic education and land use. Respondents’ land use was mirrored within their economic interests and intensity of pastoral farming use. The potential for increase in native woody vegetation is especially found on lifestyle blocks or beef & sheep farms with water courses and slopes. Using these results, the district-wide potential for re-established and regenerating native woody vegetation could ultimately lead to almost three percent additionally across the study area.