The south Hawea Flat land being cultivated is within a 590ha
area surveyed in the mid-1980s as a recommended area for
protection under the Department of Conservation's protected
natural area programme.
The land is still considered by Doc to be one of the ''most
important remnants of dryland vegetation'' in the Upper
Clutha Valley and contains two threatened species, two
declining species and four ''naturally uncommon'' species.
Wanaka landscape architect and Forest and Bird Society
Central Otago-Lakes branch member Anne Steven said the area
contained ''really important indigenous biodiversity -
naturally rare ecosystems and national priority 1, 3 and 4
Landcare Research researcher Dr Susan Walker, of Dunedin,
said her understanding of Queenstown Lakes District Council
rules was that the landowner could not remove indigenous
vegetation without resource consent.
''The site clearly meets criteria of the [council] rule and
resource consent will be required for clearance of the
indigenous vegetation,'' Dr Walker said.