Erosion Susceptibility Classification

To manage erosion and protect our waterways, plantation forestry activities must be managed for the risk of erosion. The Erosion Susceptibility Classification tool assesses environmental risks.

About Erosion Susceptibility Classification

The Erosion Susceptibility Classification (ESC) is used to identify the erosion risk of land as a basis for determining where a plantation forestry activity:

  • is permitted, subject to certain conditions being met, or
  • requires resource consent because it's on higher-risk land.

The Erosion Susceptibility Classification tool is available online. Amendments to the NES-PF, published in April 2018, have seen some changes in ESC classifications.

You can also download the ESC data set in several formats (Shapefile, KML, Excel), along with the metadata on the MPI Open Data Portal. The current version of the ESC was released in March 2018. Note, the database provides information for the North and South Islands only – not for New Zealand's offshore islands.

Key to land classification

The tool divides the New Zealand landscape into 4 erosion categories that are colour-coded according to risk. Refer to the NES-PF regulations for specific requirements for forestry activities and ESC zoning details.

Green (low) and yellow (moderate) — land less likely to erode. Plantation forestry activities are permitted.

Orange (high risk) or red (very high risk) — land more likely to erode. Most forestry activities can't be carried out on red-zoned land without resource consent. Some activities, such as earthworks also require consent on orange-zoned land with steeper slopes.

Categories are based on the local:

  • topography (steepness of the slope)
  • dominant erosion process (like wind or water)
  • rock type.

ESC and operational planning

Draft guidance is available to help you with the Erosion Susceptibility Classification and finer scale mapping.

ESC and operational planning guidance [PDF, 494 KB]

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References for the ESC and operational planning guidance
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