Human activity provides most threats to New Zealand's remaining wetlands.

Threats include:

Wetland in the Te Anau area. Photo: C Rance.
Wetland in the Te Anau area

  • Sand and gravel extraction changes water levels, damages existing vegetation and provides access for weeds.
  • Reclamation of lake and river margins, lagoons and estuaries, and draining of farm swamps, reduces wetland areas.
  • Wetlands are polluted by excess run-off of sediment and nutrients from farmlands.
  • Plant and animal pest invasion.
  • Stock grazing in wetlands and surrounding catchments damages vegetation, decreases soil stability and contributes to pollution.
  • Careless recreation practices, including misuse of jet-skiing, hunting, kayaking, power boating and whitebaiting, disturbs plant and animal life and may destroy parts of the physical wetland environment.
  • Forest harvesting close to wetlands may damage wetland vegetation and cause erosion.
  • Loss of vegetation in surrounding catchments allow excess sediment to run directly into wetlands.
  • Pine forests draw water away from ground water systems leaving depleted supplies, and poorly managed farming practices cause sediment and/or fertiliser run-off.
  • Wetlands drained for urban or rural development.
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