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The Gisborne district has a severe erosion problem - 26 percent of Gisborne district's land is susceptible to severe erosion, compared with only 8 percent of all land in New Zealand. Severe erosion includes large-scale gully erosion, earthflow erosion and deep-seated slumps.
Severe erosion causes long-term damage to the productivity of rural land. It threatens communities and rural businesses, including farms and orchards, roads and bridges. It lowers water quality by contributing large amounts of sediment to river systems, and it harms the natural values of the land and the coastal environment.
Extreme weather, such as prolonged or intense rain, amplifies the impact of severe erosion. Cyclone Bola and, more recently, prolonged rain in 2005 caused significant damage in the Gisborne district. Erosion must be controlled to reduce the damage caused by extreme weather.
The ECFP was established because the Government considered it important to address the wide-scale erosion problem in the Gisborne district. Since 1992, MPI has provided funding to landholders to prevent and control erosion.
The ECFP grant can be used to control erosion on the worst eroding or erosion-prone land in the district (MPI refers to this type of land as target land). The ECFP provides a grant for establishing an effective tree cover through planting or encouraging natural reversion to native bush.
So far 33,000 hectares have been established in erosion control treatments and a further 5,000 hectares approved for establishment over the next few years.