Climate change is considered the most critical issue both in New Zealand and overseas in the latest land and water report.
The National Science Challenge for Our Land and Water takes in the views of agri sector experts on what they think are the most critical issues around land-use change.
Lead researcher Tim Driver said climate change had now trumped water quality as the most burning issue.
"What we are seeing is environmental issues, in general, are really high on the agenda here but there are also other facets of climate change coming through.
"Greenhouse gas emissions, climate policy in general, carbon farming, these sorts of things coming forward in terms of their ranking and their importance as agents of land-use change."
He said there was a large increase in concern around climate and environmental impacts of agri-food production generally in New Zealand.
Driver said after climate change and water quality, the next biggest concern for the agri-sector was market issues.
"You are talking international agreements, both trade and otherwise. Also, consumer preferences in our export markets is always near the top of the list in terms of the level of concern. That's classic for the New Zealand primary sector; also trade and market access."
To make sure the research is as robust as possible, a question was included to examine the level of expertise that New Zealand agri-food experts have in terms of international markets.
"We did some additional analysis to see if the level of expertise correlated with higher concerns of different aspects or drivers of land-use change.
"We found across the board there was no change in the level of concern regarding climate change as a driver of land-use change in New Zealand depending on the level of experience people had.
"So if participants were more market-focused it didn't seem to change their level of concern regarding climate change," Driver said.