In this occasional series, David Barnes attempts to unravel and demystify the different types of conservation land.  

The early history of land protection in New Zealand focused on scenery – the pretty stuff. Scenic reserves exist to preserve “scenic interest, beauty, or natural features or landscape”. It was only late last century that attention turned to biodiversity as reason to protect for large tracts of land. Of course, sometimes it’s the biodiversity – particularly the vegetation – that makes it scenic, so it follows that protecting the scenery also protects other values. Interestingly, they can also be created in places that are a bit ugly now but will become beautiful – say, for example, where a revegetation project is planned.  It’s not uncommon to find scenic reserves in quite accessible places, such as alongside highways. The Manawatu Gorge and Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserves are examples on high-profile highways. Ones requiring a bit more effort to get to include the Silverpeaks Scenic Reserve, world famous in Dunedin, and Serpentine Scenic Reserve, high on Central Otago’s Rough Ridge.

Next time: Historic Reserves and National Reserves.

David Barnes is a long serving member of the FMC executive. He is FMC’s nominee to the NZ Conservation Authority, the public representative board which provides advice to DOC and the Minister of Conservation.