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This fundamental work of the IDA programme developed indicators to respond to environmental reporting frameworks. The aim was to try to overcome current barriers to data use and analyses needed to establish environmental reporting indicators.

Working with end-users and data custodians, the programme developed next generation data analysis and modelling techniques, including domain-specific logic to derive statistical indicators for soil health, land use, and species occupancy at a national scale. Creation of re-usable data pipelines and production of information about provenance and data sources of the indicators was an important goal.

As well as producing environmental indicators in land, soil and species occupancy, the programme successfully engaged with key end users and stakeholders who then used the data created for reporting purposes (Weeks & Collins 2015). The IDA programme also contributed expertise to reviews of existing indicators, discussions on indicator development and methods to maximise the reuse of disparate and variable data in biodiversity and land domains.

Land Use

Manaaki Whenua -- Landcare Research, and the IDA team in particular, is leading the research on ecosystem services mapping and modelling and has contributed to international initiatives such as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) that reviewed the state and trends of biodiversity and ecosystem services across the Asia and the Pacific (IPBES 2018; Ning et al. 2018). We developed models to map ecosystem services at the national scale in a previous MBIE programme. These models were transferred into LUMASS (the Land Use Management Support System) software and updated LUMASS to use the latest land use map developed by Manderson et al. (2018). LUMASS is a software developed at Manaaki Whenua for spatial dynamic modelling.

Land use and land cover information is fundamental to understand pressure and state of our environment. We used our knowledge on land use to update a new set of ecosystem services spatial layers, including data for greenhouse gas emission, nitrate leaching, water yield, sediment lost, and sediment retained. These datasets are available through the LRIS portal. These indicators are essential to inform environmental reporting purposes (Ausseil & Manderson 2018; Ministry for the Environment 2018; Rutledge et al. 2015), or nutrient budgeting (Singh R 2018). More work is still required to refine concepts of land use intensity and how intensity impacts on our soil and water (Manderson 2018).

Soil Quality

Workflows and scripting have been re-used for integration and validation of soil data as part of the process for importing legacy soil data into the NSDR . We worked closely with the Ministry for the Environment to generate soil quality indicators that were used in the 2018 land domain report, and reviewed the process for creating these to improve robustness of the workflow (Price R 2016).

Soil natural capital indicators are still an active topic of research, and as such the IDA team has been contributing to the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge to define soil natural capital functions and services that underpin the land use suitability concept (Roudier et al. 2018).


This component of the IDA project relates to two components:

  1. the development of a re-useable data-pipeline for assembling data-sets suitable for modelling, but not species occupancy modelling directly, and
  2. a review of online species modelling platforms.

The data-pipeline was initially based on the ROpenSci packages, incorporating the IDA data-federation and data-cleaning services. The customised pipeline code is not directly accessible because it utilises sensitive species occurrence data contained in restricted-access datasets.

Our review of online toolboxes for species modelling concluded with some key recommendations.

In response to the myrtle rust incursion, IDA work was directed toward use of the pipeline for a rapid synthesis of the distribution and abundance of indigenous myrtaceae species. The output was used by DOC for targeted seed-banking and is used in current MPI-funded projects for myrtle-rust management.


  • The IDA data-pipeline (not available due to data privacy restrictions)



PBES 2018. Summary for policymakers of the regional assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services for Asia and the Pacific of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Bonn, Germany.

McCarthy J, Richardson S, Cooper J, Bellingham P, Wiser S 2019. Species distribution models of the native New Zealand myrtaceae. MPI Project report 18607, project 3.2 (an example of on-going research utilising IDA outputs).

Manderson AK 2018. Land use intensity workshop: Summary of key findings. Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research contract report for the Ministry for the Environment.

Manderson A, Lilburne L, Hewitt A, Pollacco J, Carrick S 2017. Recommendations and interim soils data to support the development of a national freshwater reporting model. Landcare Research Contract Report LC2380 for the Ministry for the Environment.

Ning W, Wang C, Ausseil A, Alhafedh Y, Broadhurst L, Lin H, Axmacher J, Okubo S, Turney C, Onuma A, Chaturvedi R, Kohli P, Apadodharan S, Abhilash P, Settele J, Claudet J, Yumoto T, Zhang Y 2018. Asia-Pacific: Chapter 4. Direct and indirect drivers of change in biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people.

Price R 2016. Review of MfE R code for Soil health and land use indicators. Manaaki Whenua contract report for Ministry for the Environment.

Roudier P, Lilburne L, Ausseil A, Grealish G, Stevenson B, Carrick S, Manderson A, Greenhalgh S, Harmsworth G, Kalaugher E 2018. Towards a preliminary assessment of the soil security dimensions in Aotearoa/New Zealand. 3rd Global Soil Security Conference.

Rutledge DT, Price R, Hart G 2015. National guidelines for monitoring and reporting effects of land fragmentation. Landcare Research Contract Report LC2144 for Regional Council Land Monitoring Forum.

Weeks E, Collins A 2015. Environmental Monitoring and Reporting (EmaR) land and soil indicators workshop. NLRC report for Waikato Regional Council.