Significant Natural Areas

More than half of the Nelson region’s natural vegetation cover has been modified since human settlement, and only a fragment of indigenous lowland and coastal vegetation remains.

Significant Natural Areas

The extensive species and habitat loss mean that those remnants which still exist have an even greater significance. These sites are often one of the few remaining refuges for nationally and regionally rare and engagement species and the future hope for enhancement and restoration in the Nelson region.

Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) are sites that have been identified as having natural ecosystem values that are representative, rare, diverse, and provide important corridor connections or habitats for rare indigenous species.

There are approximately 160 SNAs in the Nelson Region, most of which occur on private land. The SNAs on private land include a range of forest types, coastal ecosystems and freshwater wetlands and are often the few remaining refuges for protecting Nelson/Whakatū’s ecosystems and species. Private landowners often do not have the resources required to manage the plant and animal pest threats to these sites by themselves.


The protection of SNAs is guided by the policy in the Nelson Resource Management Plan – currently being reviewed as the Nelson Plan. Nelson Nature provides support to private landowners of SNAs to help manage the plant and animal pest threats to these sites by themselves

What is Council doing?

 Nelson Nature can help SNA landowners with:

  • Advice and support for weed control
  • Advice and support for animal pest control (e.g. possums, goats, predators)
  • Advice and support for planting native species appropriate to the Nelson area (link to living heritage guide)
  • Assistance with fencing grants to prevent stock access
  • Linking to existing volunteer groups

For more information contact

How can you be involved?

 If you are an SNA landowner, contact Nelson Nature to discuss your SNA and what support we can provide.

If you are not an SNA landowner, but want to help protect these sites, some of our landowners would love your support with weeding and planting programmes:

-        Contact Nelson Nature to indicate your interest

-        Nelson Tasman Weedbusters are working with SNA landowners at a number of sites 

-        Use the Bush Vitality Assessment Kit as a resource for assessing and restoring native habitats.