Soil quality of drystock sites in the Auckland region in 2010. Changes since 1995-2000

S Fraser, B Stevenson
Auckland Council Research, Investigations and Monitoring Unit, RIMU
Publication date:

The Auckland Regional Council (ARC, now known as Auckland Council) participated in two national soil quality monitoring projects in 1995–1998 and 1999–2001. The two projects, co-funded from the Ministry for the Environment Sustainable Management Fund (SMF), identified methods and protocols for soil quality monitoring (Hill et al. 2003). These protocols were used to examine a range of sites, soils, and land uses in the Auckland Region. Annual reports were provided by the science providers to the Auckland Regional Council and MFE (eg, Sparling et al. 1998) and scientific summary reports of the whole national project are available (eg, Sparling and Schipper 2004). At the end of these SMF projects, collectively known as the “500 Soils Project”, the Auckland Regional Council had more soil quality data (on an area basis) than any other region. However, after 2001, ARC did not participate in further similar soil quality monitoring until 2008. The strategy chosen by ARC was again to sample those sites established under the earlier projects and considered to be most at risk of soil quality degradation. The focus for the 2008 sampling was market gardens, arable cropping, and horticulture; for 2009, the focus was dairy sites; and for 2010, the focus was for drystock sites.


• Complete laboratory analyses on soil samples provided by the Auckland Regional Council staff, of soil quality on 17 sites, using methodologies consistent with those established under the 500 Soils Project.

• Identify which of the seven key indicators, soil pH, total C, total N, mineralisable N, Olsen P, bulk density, and macroporosity, were of most concern.

• Compare the current status of the soils against the condition when first sampled between 1995 and 2000 to identify any consistent changes in soil quality

• Provide an interpretive report to the Auckland Council for use in landholder education and policy development.

Auckland Council technical report TR2011/011

Prepared by Landcare Research

Landcare Research Contract Report: LC203

Last updated: 2018-07-09