- Environment of New Zealand
The environment of New Zealand is characterised by unique flora and fauna and a variety of landforms contained within a small island nation.
The biota of New Zealand is one of the most unusual on Earth, due to its long isolation from other
continental landmasses. Its affinities are derived in part from Gondwana, from which it separated 82 million years ago, some modest affinities with New Caledonia and [ord Howe Island, both of which are part of the same continental plate as New Zealandand in part from Australia.
More recently a component has been introduced by humans. New Zealand's
biodiversityexhibits high levels of endemism, both in its flora and fauna. Until recently the islands had no native terrestrial mammals except for bats (although mammals did exist in New Zealand until 19 million years ago), the main component of the fauna being insects and birds. Its flora is dominated by Gondwanan plants, comprising historically of forests, most famously the giant kauri. New Zealand has developed a national Biodiversity Action Planto address conservation of considerable numbers of threatened flora and fauna within New Zealand.
tate of the Environment reporting
The Ministry for the Environment has produced two
State of the Environmentreports to date, one in 1997 [cite web|url=http://mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/ser1997/|title=The State of New Zealand’s Environment 1997|date=1997|publisher=Ministry for the Environment|accessdate=2008-09-03] and the other in 2007. [cite web|url=http://mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/enz07-dec07/index.html|title=Environment New Zealand 2007|date=December 2007|publisher=Ministry for the Environment|accessdate=2008-09-03]
The roots of New Zealand environmental law can be traced to the
common lawof Britain. The increasing environmental awareness of the 1960s led to a specific body of environmental lawthat developed in many Western countries including New Zealand. Environmental law became more integrated in the 1980s with the passing of the Environment Act 1987and the Conservation Act. These Acts set up the Ministry for the Environment, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environmentand the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
The most significant Act of Parliament concerning environmental law was the passing of
Resource Management Actin 1991. Issues under the Act are adjudicated by the Environment Court of New Zealand.
As with many other countries there are a number of
environmental organisations that are working towards addressing various environmental issuesin New Zealand.
Timeline of environmental history of New Zealand
* [http://www.mfe.govt.nz Ministry for the Environment]
* [http://www.doc.govt.nz Department of Conservation]
* [http://www.ourfuture.net.nz/index.asp ourfuture.net.nz] - a project for mapping environmental initiatives in New Zealand
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