New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity is highly unique. Most of our native species exist nowhere else on Earth.

Otago is large (3.1 million hectares) and one of the most ecologically-diverse regions of New Zealand – from the alpine lakes of the West, to Central Otago’s dryland environments, and the coastal forests of the East. We are internationally renowned for our unique wildlife – from albatross, penguins and seals on the Otago Peninsula, to the lizards and geckos of the centre, through to alpine parrots in the West.

Map of Otago’s indigenous ecosystems and fauna habitats

We have pulled together information on Otago’s indigenous ecosystems and fauna habitats to display on this online map.

Ecosystem - a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscapes, work together to form a bubble of life.

Fauna – the animals of a particular region, habitat or time.

What is on this map?

This mapping includes both the current ecosystem coverage and the ‘potential’ ecosystem coverage of Otago. The ‘potential’ ecosystem mapping is an estimation of the likely indigenous ecosystem coverage that would exist across Otago today if humans hadn’t settled in the region. This mapping provides an insight into the likely degree of ecosystem change since human arrival and could be used to inform revegetation and ecosystem restoration projects.

Significant habitats of indigenous fauna have also been mapped across Otago’s land, freshwater and marine ecosystems.

The map gives us a baseline of where indigenous biodiversity remains in Otago and will help inform where we work with partners and communities to maintain and enhance indigenous biodiversity.

Why create this map?

The map will be used by ORC for a variety of purposes including to:

  • Provide a ‘baseline’ of the extent and integrity of indigenous ecosystems across Otago
  • Identify and prioritise areas for further ecological survey
  • Identify and prioritise areas across Otago where we can work in partnership with agencies and communities to actively manage indigenous biodiversity
  • Help inform consultations on consenting and compliance works
  • Inform conversations and consultations for regulatory and compliance work

You can use this map as a starting point to guide restoration projects by looking at what kinds of plant life may have been present in a particular area, are likely to be present now, or what wildlife is in the area that needs protecting.

Please seek further advice either from ORC by emailing us or calling 0800 474 082, or by contacting local catchment groups, plant nurseries, pest management groups or similar.

This map is a collection of publicly available data and local knowledge. Please note, this information should be used for indications only. If you would like further advice about the data on this map please email us or call us at 0800 474 082.



You can use the search bar in the top left-hand corner to search for a property address. Or you can move around the map to find an area by clicking and dragging, using the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out or use the + and – buttons on the left-hand side of the map.


This map includes broad-scale ecosystem coverage across Otago based on the Singers and Rogers (2014) ecosystem classification system. The legend shows what the colours on the map mean in terms of the classifications in this system. You can find more information about this classification system in this Department of Conservation report.


The information in this map is split into layers, both the 'Otago Ecosystems and Habitats' and the 'Potential Ecosystems' under this layer are turned on when you open the map.

You can view all of the layer options by clicking ‘Layers’ in the blue band at the top right-hand side of the page.

You can click on the arrow to the left of any layer headings to see any sublayers. For example, under the 'Otago Ecosystems and Habitatis' heading you will find the ‘Potential Ecosystems’ and ‘Current Indigenous Ecosystems’ layers. You can click on the arrow to the left of any layer headings to see any sublayers and if you click the arrow again you can see the legend that tells you what the colours over areas of the map mean.

If you want to see more layers on the map, you can tick the box next to the layer title to turn it on and click it again to turn it off. There are sublayers underneath the marine and terrestrial habitat layers that can also be toggled on and off.

Information on the map: When you click on coloured areas further information will be displayed in the pop up panel on the left-hand side of the screen. This will confirm what layer the information sits under, what zone the area is and can have further information such as habitat significance and what species can be found there.

The maps were created using existing publicly available data and new data. Existing data included aerial and satellite imagery, and information from databases such as the Fundamental Soil Layers and the Land Cover Database. 

New data was mapped using a wide range of resources including imagery, research reports, species distribution data, and local knowledge from highly experienced local consultants.

Combined with other regional (e.g. district council mapping) and national (e.g. Department of Conservation's national threatened species database) datasets, this mapping provides a much more comprehensive picture of current indigenous biodiversity across Otago and how it has likely changed over time.

However, the mapping has limitations and some errors are inevitable in mapping at this scale. This mapping was a desk-top exercise, rather than field-based. Limitations include moderately coarse resolution for many of the layers, and misclassification of polygons in some existing databases.

Please note: There will be minor differences in the way indigenous vegetation is classified between the ORC maps and some maps from district councils (e.g. DCC). This is because our mapping needed a consistent methodology applied at a broad regional scale, whereas other mapping has required a higher resolution for the district scale.

Back to top
Online Maps & Data: