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The nature of natural: defining natural character for the New Zealand context

Abstract
New Zealand has a long-standing statutory policy goal to preserve the natural character of the coastal environment and various freshwater environments and their margins. In the absence of an authoritative definition, it has not been possible to develop a method to measure natural character and its change, nor the outcomes of the long-standing national policy goal. Here we develop a definition of natural character that is relevant and useful in the New Zealand environmental, cultural and legal/policy context. Literature-derived interpretations of natural character and equivalent concepts are evaluated as to their potential suitability for developing a biophysical definition of natural character. Using a set of carefully designed criteria a subset of interpretations are condensed into a definition of natural character. The application of this definition is qualified following consideration of the literature addressing human perception and experiences of natural character. Appropriate reference conditions and baselines for evaluating natural character in different contexts are discussed.
Type
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Series
Citation
Froude, V.A., Rennie, H.G. & Bornman, J.F. (2010). The nature of natural: defining natural character for the New Zealand context. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 34(3), 332-341.
Date
2010
Publisher
New Zealand Ecological Society
Degree
Supervisors
Rights
This article has been published in the journal: New Zealand Journal of Ecology. © 2010 New Zealand Ecological Society. Used with permission.