The Nelson region, which stretches from the Waimea Inlet to Cape Soucis, features a diverse natural environment of forests, estuaries, dunes, streams and rivers, and the unique mineral belt of Dun Mountain. These ecosystems support a rich diversity of plants and animals, some of which are not found anywhere else in the world.

Some species of animals and plants from these ecosystems have already been lost, and others are threatened by animal and plant pests.

A larger proportion of the original higher altitude forests and mineral belt vegetation remains, but many of the species that would have occurred there have been eliminated by, or are under threat from, animal and plant pests.