The urban forest of Waitematā Local Board in 2013

Craig Bishop, Grant Lawrence
Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
Publication date:
Local boards:

Auckland’s urban forest is remarkable and special. However, rapid population growth and legislative change is leading to significant change in the urban landscape, which is reflected in the urban forest. This report outlines the distribution, ownership and protection status of forest within the Waitematā Local Board (Auckland Council) area. Providing evidence to ensure decision-makers are well-informed and have a sound basis for their future decisions.

The data presented in this report is a snap-shot of urban forest cover in 2013; a one-off measure of canopy distribution and height within the Waitematā Local Board area. One of the most controversial issues relating to urban forest in Auckland, and the most important unknown, is the rate of change in the urban forest canopy. Auckland Council is undertaking another aerial LiDAR survey and the outputs of this survey are expected to be available for further analysis by December 2018.

‘Urban forest’ comprises all the trees within a city – including parks, coastal cliffs, stream corridors, private gardens and streets – both native and naturalised (i.e. exotic). For the purposes of this report ‘urban forest’ is defined as all of the trees and other vegetation three metres or taller in stature – and the soil and water that support these trees – within the Waitematā Local Board. A healthy urban forest provides a multitude of benefits for ecosystems, the economy and community health and well-being.

This report summarises the distribution, size-class structure, ownership and protection status of forest within Auckland Council’s Waitematā Local Board area. The report was written for the Natural Environment portfolio of the Waitematā Local Board, to provide background information and some direction and context for an urban forest strategy. The data presented in this report is based on an analysis of 2013 LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) captured jointly by NZ Aerial Mapping and Aerial Surveys Limited for Auckland Council. Prior to the analysis presented in this report, the council had no reliable information on the extent, ownership, and protection status of Auckland’s urban forest assets.

Auckland Council technical report, TR2017/006

Last updated: 2018-06-12