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"TARGET LAND" is a mechanism enabling:
Land use capability (LUC) units are used to classify the land. An LUC rating is an assessment of:
and the ability of these to provide sustainable agricultural production.
The individual LUC units are divided into eight broad classes (I-VIII) expressing the total degree of limitation to sustained use. Class I has negligible limitations (such as the Poverty Bay Flats) and Class VIII has extreme limitations (such as the Tarndale Slip).
Each Class is sub-divided expressing the dominant type of limitation on sustainable use. There are four sub-class limitations:
Prevailing on the East Coast, the dominant type of limitation to land sustaining agricultural production is erosion.
Finally, there is most detailed category the unit. The unit defines the assemblage of physical factors. Specifically, a LUC unit groups land that "responds similarly to the same management; adapts to the same kinds of crops, pasture or forest species; requires the same kind and intensity of soil conservation and other land management measures; yields to similar potentials"
Land use capability units are unique to their region. For example VIe2 in the Waikato region is specific to that region and differs from VIe2 in the Gisborne-East Coast region.
Land use capability units are grouped into three categories and further divided into sub-categories.
In 1992 there was no targeting mechanism for the ECFP. Grants were paid on all Class VII land content in accepted tenders.
Following the inaugural year of the ECFP, it was accepted that with no targeting mechanism land that could be used sustainably in agriculture might go into trees under the ECFP, which was not an objective. It was, therefore, that in 1993 "Target Land" was introduced to focus the erosion control treatments primarily on land that could not be sustainably utilised in agriculture.
From 1993 to 1999 the "Target Land" was classified as severely eroding category two land and category three land.
Nineteen ninety-nine saw the completion of the review of the ECFP. One of the outcomes of the review was to re-classify "Target Land". Today "Target Land" is category 3b and 3c land and some category four land that does not have a closed canopy cover.
Source: Table and photos as courtesy of the Gisborne District Council, Soil Conservation Section, Conservation Quorum Spring 2000.