Compliance with biodiversity compensation on New Zealand’s public conservation lands

This article assesses compliance with biodiversity compensation on New Zealand’s conservation land. Of the 261 Department of Conservation (DOC) concessions for commercial activity searched, only about 15% included compensation provisions. A sample of 20 concessions of that 15% suggests 68% achieve full compliance. Our results suggest compliance is influenced by factors such as habitat and activity type, protected area category, and whether a concession holder has pending concessions and/or renewals. Inconsistencies in compliance monitoring, enforcement, and reporting merit attention.

Assessing and comparing population densities and indices of skinks under three predator management regimes

Introduced mammalian predators threaten populations of endemic New Zealand skinks. Their effects on skink populations have been not often quantified on the mainland and are known primarily from skink population increases on islands from which mammals have been eradicated. Estimating skink population density with capture–recapture trapping is time-consuming and costly. Counting skinks in artificial retreats in specific weather conditions may be a useful and relatively quick way to index population density, but needs calibration for different habitats and species.

Using home-range data to optimise the control of invasive animals

Invasive species have been identified by the Convention on Biological Diversity as a significant threat to biodiversity. Conservation managers often lack tools for addressing uncertainty about the control intensity required to achieve cost-effective management of invasive species. We describe a modelling approach for informing the spacing of control-device lines given the availability of home-range data. To demonstrate its utility, we used data on stoats (Mustela erminea), an introduced mammalian predator responsible for the decline of endemic birds in New Zealand.

Placement period of artificial retreats affects the number and demographic composition but not the body condition of skinks

Monitoring is important in conservation management, essential for assessing population trends, making decisions and allocating resources. Artificial retreats can offer a reliable, low impact and efficient method for monitoring cryptic herpetofauna. Methods for monitoring artificial retreats vary between different conservation management programmes in New Zealand, however, and a deeper understanding of the causes of these variations would encourage greater standardisation and enable more reliable comparisons to be made across temporal and spatial scales.

Efficacy of chew-track-card indices of rat and possum abundance across widely varying pest densities

Chew-track-cards (CTCs) are potentially a cost-effective way to estimate the relative abundance of invasive rats and possums in New Zealand, but previous research suggested that their high sensitivity may limit use to low-density populations. Using a short two-night deployment period, we compared CTC indices of rat and possum abundance with a footprint tracking rate (RTR) index of rat abundance and a wax tag bite rate index (WTI) of possum abundance in 11 forest remnants that varied widely in rat and possum abundance (RTR and WTI of 0–100% over two nights).

Terrestrial invertebrate surveys and rapid biodiversity assessment in New Zealand: lessons from Australia

Although invertebrates play a key role in the environment, their conservation and use in environmental monitoring is often considered “too difficult” and consequently ignored. One of the main problems in dealing with invertebrates is that even limited sampling can yield large numbers of specimens and an enormous diversity of species. Other problems include the taxonomic impediment (i.e.

Developing a forest biodiversity monitoring approach for New Zealand

There is a lack of comprehensive and consistent information to inform policy makers about the status of New Zealand’s forest biodiversity. Three reasons for collecting such information are: assessing the effectiveness of management, reporting on the status of biodiversity under national and international requirements, and improving our knowledge of ecosystem dynamics for designing effective management systems. The challenge is to design monitoring systems that address these multiple needs simultaneously, and at a range of spatial and temporal scales.

Methods for monitoring herbivory and growth of New Zealand mistletoes (Loranthaceae)

This study provides the first quantitative comparison of methods for monitoring herbivory and growth of New Zealand beech mistletoes (Alepis flavida, Peraxilla colensoi and Peraxilla tetrapetala). Four monitoring methods-leaf maps, volume estimates visual estimates of browse and foliage density, and rePeat fixed-point photographs-were used to assess the health of 60 permanently tagged mistletoe plants in four South Island beech forests between February 1997 and February 1998.

An improved technique for indexing abundance of Himalayan thar

Current monitoring of Himalayan thar (Hemitragus jemlahicus) populations in New Zealand involves a technique based on repeated observations by different, experienced observers. The method gives no measure of error and hence does nor allow for statistical comparison of repeated surveys. We outline a faster and cheaper technique that enables statistical comparison between surveys based on mark-recapture theory.

Indicator species for the interpretation of vegetation condition in the St Bathans area, central Otago, New Zealand

Monitoring the effect of management in rangelands is an integral part of the process of adaptive management. An understanding of how individual species react to management has two major benefits. Firstly, monitoring, can be simplified by avoiding species which are reacting mostly to other influences, and secondly the abundance of species can be interpreted in a meaningful way for assessing the influence of previous management.