Modelling land use change alternatives

21 November 2022

A long running research programme funded by the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) is in its seventh year and due for completion in June 2023. The objective of the programme – ‘Takahuri Whenua: The changing land’ – is to develop GHG mitigation and land use change scenarios for the Māori agricultural sector.

Science leader of the programme Dr Tanira Kingi, Emeritus Scientist at Scion, says interest in the programme is high given the impending impacts on the agricultural sector from proposed carbon pricing system and freshwater regional plans coming into effect in 2025.

The NZAGRC describes Takahuri Whenua as “a major project partnering with three Māori land collectives to support their ambitions to transition their farms and forests to a high-value, low-emissions bioeconomy within their tribal rohe”.

The programme involves GHG mitigation and land use modelling on 18 case-study farms owned by Māori land authorities across three collectives with six farms in each.

Takahuri Whenua will produce a decisionsupport framework that integrates a range of existing tools and models and presents the mitigation and land use change scenarios in a variety of formats including in spatial layers. A key part of the framework is the discussion with the farm’s governance and management leaders to clarify priorities, values and long-term objectives and then to explore future scenarios.

Tanira says while the information is technical and complex the research team has devised effective ways to present case farm reports in workshop settings, which improves the farm’s governance and management teams’ capability to use the information for better planning and decision-making.

Researchers from other organisations involved in the programme come from AgFirst, Fruition Horticulture and
Groundtruth Ltd.

The programme’s second phase involves the farm entities coming together within their collectives to explore joint strategies. From October 2022 to April 2023 when the programme enters its final phase, the three collectives will work together to identify opportunities to scale up their network across the regions, explore value chains for alternative land use products and develop multi-collective joint strategies to help identify potential partners and funding avenues.