Land and Resources, Natural Resources
Mount Taranaki, important natural resource, New Zealand rivers, radiata pine, Canterbury Plains
Land is one of the country’s most valuable resources. Much of the soil is not naturally fertile, however, and has to be supplemented with fertilizers for crop cultivation. More than half of the land area is either cropland or pastureland. Most of the arable land is found on the east coasts of both islands, in particular the Canterbury Plains. Pastures for livestock grazing dominate in north-central and western North Island and southern South Island.
About 30 percent of the land area is forested. The country has 6.4 million hectares (15.8 million acres) of old-growth forest, much of which is designated for preservation. In addition, some forests are plantations of imported species such as the radiata pine. The western Southern Alps of the South Island constitute the largest forested area of the country and include extensive areas of native forest. The North Island has native forest mainly in more remote areas, notably around Mount Taranaki and in isolated pockets of Northland.
New Zealand rivers and lakes are an important natural resource as the source of hydroelectricity. Mineral resources are limited, with some reserves of coal, gold, iron ore, and limestone. Significant stocks of natural gas and less plentiful reserves of oil are located both offshore and in the western region of the North Island.
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