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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (1995) 40(1): 28–32
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Research article
Using GIS and visualisation techniques for rural planning

B. Hock , T. Bennison and S. Swaffield

Extensive areas of the South Island high country in New Zealand are experiencing severe land degradation problems that threaten the sustainability of local pastoral communities. This problem has been identified as particularly acute in the Mackenzie/Waitaki Basin, where a change of land use to forestry is considered an ameliorative solution. The NZ Forest Research Institute is developing a multi-disciplinary procedure that evaluates social and economic effects of particular combinations of agriculture, forestry and conservation.

Underlying this procedure are databases on biophysical, economic and social values, primarily integrated by a Geographic Information System (GIS). A GIS was used in the development of the land-use options, for preparing maps to be used in an attitude survey, and for economic analysis.

Computer-generated visualisations of the likely impacts of the forestry!agriculture!conservation options were also developed for use in the attitude survey, and spatially-accurate images representing survey results are being used to provide feedback to stakeholders and assist the planning process.

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