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Land Cover

Land Cover
  • Land Area (km2): 9,958
  • Temperature (0C) : 3-10
  • Rainfall (mm): 300-1,200
  • Population(1) : 16,647
  • Population Density(2) : 1.7
  • Sunshine (hrs) : 1,700-2,100
Note: All climatic values show the maximum and minimum mean annual figure found within the geographical area of the administering authority. For example, a low mean annual temperature might occur within a mountainous area compared to a higher mean annual temperature on the coast.
(1) Population is the usually resident population at the 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings.
(2) People per square kilometre of land (excludes all inland water bodies over 0.15km2)

Land type per Area in Central Otago
Figure 2: Composition of Central Otago District’s landscape and national significance of individual components


Land Cover Type
Central Otago District
New Zealand
Percentage of New Zealand total
 Hectares Percentage of total area  Hectares Percentage of total area
Bare Ground 21,748 2.18 1,409,910 5.27 1.54
Coastal Sands 0 0 42,009 0.16 0
Coastal Wetlands 0 0 20,039 0.07 0
Horticultural Land 1,404 0.14 45,392 0.17 3.09
Indigenous Forest 1,546 0.16 6,214,886 23.24 0.02
Inland Water 6,831 0.69 409,821 1.53 1.67
Inland Wetlands 4,431 0.44 94,049 0.35 4.71
Mangrove 0 0 22,441 0.08 0
Mines & Dumps 431 0.04 3,307 0.01 13.03
Planted Forests 6,108 0.61 1,608,360 6.01 0.38
Pastoral Land 406,529 40.82 10,361,660 38.75 3.92
Scrub 33,119 3.33 2,678,637 10.02 1.24
Tussock Grassland 512,323 51.45 3,638,515 13.61 14.08
Urban Area 863 0.09 160,155 0.60 0.54
Urban Open Space 509 0.05 31,527 0.12 1.61
Total Area 995,842 100.00 26,740,708 100.00 3.72

Central Otago District’s landscape largely consists of craggy tussock-covered mountain ranges, such as the Dunstan Mountains and the Raggedy Range, interspersed by pastoral land in the valleys and river plains. The Clutha River, New Zealand’s largest river (both in catchment and flow) flows north to south through the district. Central Otago’s gold mining history is still evident in the landscape with the district containing over 13 percent of New Zealand’s mines and dumps.

Other land type covers that are over-represented in Central Otago are Tussock Grassland, Inland Wetlands and Pastoral Land.


Description of Land Cover Types

Bare ground Non-pastoral exposed soil and rock
Coastal sands Beach sands and dunes
Coastal wetlands Coastal areas inundated by salt water
Horticultural land Includes orchards, kiwifruit and market gardens
Indigenous forest Forest cover dominated by indigenous tall forest canopy species
Inland water Lakes, ponds and rivers
Inland wetlands Inland areas inundated by fresh water
Mangrove Sea level mangrove swamp land
Mines & dumps Includes all mines, gravel pits and dump sites
Planted forest Plantation or exotic forest inclusive of recent replanting, e.g. Pinus radiata, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Eucalyptus spp
Pastoral land Exotic pasture, enclosure distinguishes this from extensively managed Tussock Grasslands. Also includes arable land
Scrub Woody vegetation in which the cover of shrubs and trees in the canopy is >20% and in which shrub cover exceeds that of any other growth form or bare ground. Shrubs are woody plants e.g. manuka, kanuka and broom.
Tussock grassland Includes non-enclosed extensively managed grassland
Urban area Built up areas, includes any contiguous group of buildings larger than the minimum mapping unit (MMU) of 1ha.
Urban open space Includes sports fields, parklands, cemeteries etc.
Source: Statistics New Zealand – Quarterly Review Sept 2002.
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