New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2012) 36(2): 239-242

Fenced sanctuaries need critical evaluation: a reply to Innes et al. (2012)

Forum Article
R. Paul Scofield 1*
Ross Cullen 2
  1. Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand
  2. Faculty of Commerce, Lincoln University, PO Box 84, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

[First paragraphs:]
We welcome a reply by Innes et al. (2012) to our article (Scofield et al. 2011) questioning the contribution of ‘predator-proof’ fences. We note that Innes et al. do not question the fundamental points of our thesis: (1) fence costs have not been properly assessed and evaluated; (2) that fenced sanctuaries enhance conservation of species has not been properly evaluated; (3) cheaper methods exist to achieve significant improvements in species’ threat status at national levels. We also wish to acknowledge the widespread debate that has accompanied the publication of this paper (see Brookes 2011; Forest & Bird website 2011).

We agree with Innes et al. (2012) that many local restoration projects pursue a range of goals and have little doubt they attain some of them. We agree that careful, systematic, comprehensive monitoring and timely evaluation of these projects is needed to be able to reach strong conclusions about their contributions. We expect that trial and error across restoration sites will help identify what works, what can be achieved, and what is sustainable (socially and financially). We believe that it is crucial that the results of such experimentation are rigorously determined and published to enable knowledge sharing not just within local project communities but also among the interested public and professional communities.