Biological artefacts

These are human managed  biological production systems, typically using non-native species and ecosystems (e.g. agriculture, plantation forestry, domestic gardens, playing fields)

Natural character

In other jurisdictions the terms environmental naturalness and naturalness tend to be used.  It is defined as follows:

“Natural character occurs along a continuum. The natural character of a “site” at any scale is the degree to which it:

  • is part of nature, particularly indigenous nature
  • is free from the effects of human constructions and non-indigenous “biological artefacts”
  • exhibits fidelity to the geomorphology, hydrology and biological structure, composition and pattern of the “reference conditions” chosen.
  • exhibits ecological and physical processes comparable with reference conditions


Human perceptions and experiences of a “site’s” natural character are a product of the “site’s” biophysical attributes, each individual’s sensory acuity and a wide variety of personal and cultural filters.”

Naturalised species

Non-native species that are able to survive and reproduce in the wild without human assistance

Present-potential natural state

This is the state that would occur today if humans, their tools and technology and the introduced species they brought with them had not arrived in New Zealand. This can be applied to hydrology, geomorphology, vegetation cover, benthic cover and fauna.  It differs from a fixed historical time in that it incorporates the effects of geological and climatic disturbances and other natural changes that have occurred since human arrival.

Reference conditions

These are constructed using the best available information and differ from a fixed date baseline such as 1840 or 1800. In the New Zealand context the recommended reference condition is present-potential natural state.

Vascular plants

Land plants that contain conducting tissue.  Water and minerals are transported via lignified tissue (xylem) while non-lignified tissue (phloem) conducts the products of photosynthesis.  This includes club-mosses, horsetails, ferns, gymnosperms (includes conifers) and angiosperms (flowering plants)