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Home arrow Articles by Topic arrow Environmental Planning arrow Frequently Asked Landscape Questions
Frequently Asked Landscape Questions PDF Print
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Articles - Environmental Planning
Written by Environmental Defence Society   
Friday, 27 April 2007

This section provides brief information about landscapes, what they are, why they are important and how you can help protect them.

What is 'landscape'?

The term 'landscape' refers to both the broader physical environment and to how people perceive and appreciate that environment. The concept of 'landscape' includes both land and water areas including the sea, lakes and rivers. Each landscape has its own individual character which is made up of many factors including landform, land cover, the presence of wildlife and human-made structures and the interaction of people with the landscape over time.

Why are landscapes important?

Landscapes play an important role in our overall well-being. They contribute to quality of life and sense of place. They support a range of economic activities including farming, forestry, horticulture and tourism. For tangata whenua, the ongoing ability to associate with valued cultural landscapes is an important component of cultural wellbeing.

What landscapes are protected under the RMA?

The RMA provides specific protection for outstanding natural landscapes, the natural character of the coastal environment and other water bodies, areas of heritage significance (heritage landscapes) and landscapes which contribute to the amenity of an area. Areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna, which may have important landscape values, are also protected. All landscapes are to be given some management consideration under the sustainable management purpose of the RMA.

How are important landscapes identified?

A landscape assessment exercise is often undertaken to identify landscapes which have important values. This will normally include describing the larger context within which the landscapes are to be assessed, describing the landscapes themselves, classifying landscapes into their component types and character areas and evaluating the relative importance or value of particular landscapes.

What can threaten important landscapes?

Landscapes can be threatened by a range of different land uses and activities including:

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