Heaphy Bridge flood damage
Image: David Guppy | DOC


DOC has a five-year plan to increase the resilience of our wildlife and wild places to the impacts of climate change.

The climate is changing in Aotearoa New Zealand and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. These changes are already affecting our natural and built environments.

DOC has a Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan (CCAAP) that outlines the actions DOC will take to reduce the risks posed by our changing climate between 2020/21 and 2024/25.

It has a focus on protecting New Zealand's biodiversity, heritage and DOC-managed visitor infrastructure.

Download the plan

Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan (12,290K)

Updated action plan tables 2022-2025

We now have a new version of the action tables that were updated in August 2022.

The action tables reflect updated lead groups and delivery timeframes.

Climate change adaptation action plan – updated action tables 2022-2025 (PDF, 1,279K)

About the plan

New Zealand's climate is changing

Climate change threatens New Zealand’s unique natural landscapes and nature. It is a significant risk for DOC that already affects every aspect of our work.

The direct effects include damage to infrastructure or habitat caused by a rising sea level and more frequent storm and flood events. Indirect effects include the shifting of habitats and species distributions, including the movement of potentially invasive species into new areas.

Changing climate conditions will also affect tourism distribution patterns and visitor risks in many locations used for outdoor recreation.

As the climate continues to change over the coming decades, we expect ongoing atmospheric and ocean warming, elevated fire risks, more storm surges, more extreme precipitation events, longer droughts, ocean acidification, continued sea-level rise and new land-use demands, such as from adaptations to water shortages or carbon sequestration efforts (e.g. tree planting).

Extreme weather events around the country highlight our vulnerability to changing weather patterns. Examples include:

  • Southland floods in February 2020 causing the closure of two Great Walks and need to remove Lake Howden Hut
  • floods in February 2022 destroying the Heaphy Bridge
  • frequency of drought conditions putting native species under increased pressure.

DOC is adapting to a changing climate

The CCAAP identified 139 actions for implementation from 2020 to 2025.

The CCAAP is DOC’s pathway to reducing the risks associated with climate change and increasing our resilience to current and future climate changes.

It is intended to guide planning, resource prioritisation and operational work.

Since its inception in 2020, many CCAAP actions are in progress or complete.

This includes setting up programme management, undertaking climate assessments to support recovery following weather events, a coastal inundation risk assessment for all DOC assets, and detailed analyses of vulnerability of a coastal lagoon and native frog species to climate change.

The plan also gives effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi under Section 4 of the Conservation Act.

It informs all aspects of DOC’s work, including statutory documents, national policy statements, internal strategies, business systems and management practice.

More information

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