Anyone who has approached Nelson by sea or air will be aware that Nelson City is located at the head of Tasman Bay and surrounded by hilly terrain, which influences the shape of the city. Most of the population lives in the city centre and its suburbs, and the surrounding rural area is sparsely populated. Rural valley floors and lower slopes are mainly used for agriculture, and the number of lifestyle blocks is increasing. The rest of Nelson’s terrain is either plantation forest or native forest.
Of Nelson’s regional land area, 8% is an urban environment of houses, factories, shops and parks. Native forest including regenerating kanuka on hill slopes accounts for 48%, exotic production forest for 26%, pastoral farming and low intensity dairy a further 12%, and areas of gorse and other exotic woody vegetation cover 6%.
For information about Nelson City Council’s environmental monitoring and programmes please visit nelson.govt.nz/environment.