New book on wetland types in New Zealand


Our friend Philippe Gerbeaux and his colleague Peter Johnson have completed a highly detailed and lavishly illustrated study of New Zealand's wetland types that provides both an excellent look at that country's wetlands themselves and an enlightening discussion of wetland classification systems and how to work with them. Here is the press release that accompanied the publication. -- Editor.

P.N. Johnson; P.J. Gerbeaux 2004. Wetland types in New Zealand. 184 p. NZ$40.00.

This book is the final output of a Ministry for the Environment project on coordinated monitoring of New Zealand wetlands (see the following link for previous outputs: This project has sought to develop a coordinated approach and standardised eco-classification to facilitate international reporting under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and national state-of-the-environment reporting under the Resource Management Act on changes in wetland extent and condition. One aspect of the project has been to develop a wetland classification system that is based primarily on wetland function. This system allows for wetlands to be recognised at several sequential levels of a hierarchy, from broadly defined hydrosystems, to wetland classes, then structural classes of vegetation, and finally wetland 'types' distinguished by their composition of dominant plants.

The emphasis of this book is on inland freshwater wetlands, those near coastal estuaries, and those of lake and river margins. Fully aquatic systems of lakes and rivers are covered in much less detail, these topics having their own complexity of literature in hydrology and limnology. A draft structure for classification of geothermal and plutonic hydrosystems and of marine, lacustrine, and riverine hydrosystems has yet to be finalised.

Its main purpose is to describe and illustrate how wetland types can be recognised and named. Section 2 deals with the classification system, noting some of the background to wetland classification, and then describing the classification tiers. Section 3 demonstrates patterns in wetlands and shows how the classification system can be applied to them. Section 4 describes how wetlands function, especially in relation to the variables of hydrology, nutrients, and substrates, and discusses how wetlands change over time. Section 5 provides some direction on wetland survey methods, use of the classification system, and a guide to further information. A glossary of terms is provided at the end.

The book is available in pdf format and can be found in the following link page:

The link also contains a reference to another report of potential interest to Ramsar News readers, on the identification of rivers of national importance, another Ministry for the Environment's project.



Back to top
Follow us 
Ramsar online photo gallery 

The Convention today

Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,181 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,545,658

Ramsar Secretariat

Rue Mauverney 28
CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 22 999 0170
Fax: +41 22 999 0169
Map: click here

Ramsar Forum: subscribe