ReLeaf Hamilton is using MARXAN software, a computer model that combines all of the data collected to help us strategically plan for the future of Hamilton’s natural landscape. It was originally developed by the University of Queensland in Australia for conservation work on the Great Barrier Reef. ReLeaf Hamilton has been pursuing collaborative planning for natural heritage systems in Hamilton with specific objectives:

  • Identify a system of natural heritage features and areas based on the best available science and information. This system will reflect local knowledge and interest through engagement and agreement among community representatives in the area;
  • Protect identified ecological priorities so that they may continue to provide the health, social, cultural, economic, and environmental benefits that we rely on;
  • Use the products developed to support the maintenance of a healthy and functional natural heritage system;
  • Provide products that will benefit sound conservation and planning activities, including the option for municipalities to use the NHS in their Official Plans;
  • Establish a foundation for future iterations of NHS modelling as knowledge and information improve over time.

Documents that provided structure and direction for ReLeaf’s NHS planning include: