The Use of Geographic Information Systems for Resource Evaluation: A New Zealand Example
Over the last decade, New Zealand has implemented innovative reforms in respect of natural resource and environmental management. These include the Resource ManagementAct 1991 (RMA), a notable feature of which is the adoption of 'sustainable management' as the key principle guiding resource allocation and use. This and other features of the new administrative context for resource management strongly suggest a prominent role for geographicinformation systems (GIS) and related spatial information technology. In this paper we present an outline of the Regional Resource Evaluation Project (RREP), a project that has been established to explore and demonstrate the capabilities of GIS and related spatial information technology in the context of resource analysis and decision making. To date, the RREP has achieved important outcomes in terms of database design and development. An extensive information base which incorporates data on the physical and natural environment, patterns of human activity, and on social and demographic characteristics has been assembled. We describe the information systems, as well as some of the technical issues that attend to database design and development.We also provide brief reviews of two applications of the GIS to resource evaluation. One relates to the evaluation of changes in regional land use, with a focus on natural habitats. The other is concerned with land suitability assessment for plantation forestry.
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