Land use inputs

This theme considers what happens on the land, the land use or land management practices and it will also consider the benefit of certain mitigation practices. It is very aligned to the Southland Economic Project.

The purpose of the Land Use Inputs projects is to identify and fill critical knowledge gaps in the field of contaminant sources, loadings and transport, associated with rural and to a lessor extent urban land use. One of the key outputs will be the production of a Land Use Map for the region that will inform the other two themes in the programme as well as catchment limit setting policy and economic modelling. Its purpose is also to consider technological or land management practices that may aid in mitigation of contaminant loads.

A draft of prioritised research themes and projects was developed in early 2014 under consultation with members of the Environment Southland science team. The prioritisation exercise focused on the development of a land use contaminant loss dataset for catchment contaminant modelling undertaken within the Fluxes and Flows programme.

In addition, a longer-term priority that was identified was conducting or facilitating research into what were considered high nutrient loss land uses or landscapes. The results of these investigations being the most likely to improve catchment models and a conceptual understanding of land use losses and pathways of losses. This was developed under the premise that any attempt at catchment scale modelling needs to start with as accurate land use and land use loss information as possible.

Three broad Land Use Inputs sub-themes were identified to refine outputs into logical conceptual clusters of work. The sub-themes and projects within them are listed below:

Efficient capture of land use information

  • Collation of a regional land use dataset to measure current extent and future change;
  • Remote Sensing (e.g. Winter grazing satellite mapping and typing);
  • Regional surveys and database development – determining the best options.

Land Use Losses

  • Development of a regional land use contaminant loss dataset;
  • Refining estimates of winter grazing losses from sheep winter grazed fodder crops;
  • Develop a sediment loss model for the region, this has the potential to be expanded to include other contaminants that are bound to sediment such as E. coli and Phosphorus;
  • Contamination Source Tracking (Sediment, Microbial, Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P);
  • Characterizing tile drain fluxes and flows;
  • Detailed urban contaminant study/model development;
  • Faecal contaminants – modelling.


  • Modelling seasonality of land surface inputs and losses (Sheep, crop, dairy).


Artificial subsurface drainage in SouthlandThis report outlines a framework for estimating where artificial subsurface drainage systems are likely to be present in Southland.
Methodology for GIS-based Land Use Maps for SouthlandThis report details the background and methodology for the development of GIS-based Land Use Maps for Southland enabling these maps to be updated on a regular basis.
Overland Flow Risk in SouthlandThis report provides an assessment of the likelihood of overland flow occurring from land surfaces across Southland.
Spatial analysis of winter forage cropping in SouthlandThis report documents recent work by Landcare Research and Environment Southland to understand the extent of winter forage crops in Southland, and collates advice and technical information on risks to water quality.