The Marlborough Regions geography can be roughly divided into four sections. Areas in both the south and the west are mountainous. Between these two area lies the valley of the Wairau River which to its eastern end has fertile soils and temperate weather, allowing it to become a centre of the New Zealand wine industry. The forth geographic zone lines along the north coast in the drowned valleys of the Marlborough sounds. Like the rest of New Zealand, Marlborough has a diverse range of soils. In fact there are over 87 different soil types in Marlborough representing eight of the 15 soil orders used in New Zealand – the highest and most generalised level of soil classification. The large number of soil types within Marlborough reflects the variation of parent materials, age of soil development, the climate (i.e.,mean annual rainfall and presences and absence of drought) and topography. Native vegetation comprises over half of the land cover of the Marlborough region (NZ Land Cover Database 2), but with 26% of the landscape dominated by pasture and 9% by exotic forest land uses.
Below: DNA has already been collected from over 280 soil samples located at 37 sites within the Marlborough District.