Important Plant Areas

Dune and estuarine communies on Fortrose Spit, Southland support a range of at risk species. Photo: Anne Humburg

Important plant areas (IPAs) are natural or semi-natural sites exhibiting exceptional botanical richness and/or supporting an outstanding assemblage of rare, threatened and/or endemic plant species and/or vegetation of high botanical value.

Important Plant Areas (IPAs) are the best sites for wild plants and fungi. The purpose of an Important Plant Area (IPA) programme is to identify a network of sites within each biogeographic zone that are critical for the long-term viability of naturally occurring wild plant populations.

These sites are defined such that they can be managed as contiguous areas. They are not intended to cover large tracts of a region or country. IPAs are not legal site designations but are a framework for identifying and highlighting the very best sites for plants and fungi, which can be used to support conservation actions and initiatives.

The identification of IPAs in New Zealand and throughout Oceania is valuable so that conservation efforts for wild plant species and their habitats may be appropriately targeted to these sites.

Target 5 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation is that "protection of 50% of the world's most important areas for plant diversity assured by 2010". So that New Zealand can achieve Target 5 of this strategy the Network is working to identify IPAs. IPA workshops have been held at the Network's conferences in 2003 and 2005. Criteria for identification of IPAs have now been developed (see link below).

Please nominate sites using the form provided (see link below). Nominated sites will be examined by the Networks expert panel every 4 months and if supported will become part of the Networks IPA database.

For more information about the Global Important Plant Area Programme:

If you have any queries about the New Zealand IPA programme please contact the Network at

This page last updated on 4 Dec 2012