New Zealand has a unique opportunity to reshape the future of 1.2 million hectares, or 5% of the country. Since 1990, land clearance and development in the South Island high country have removed large areas of native vegetation, destroying already tenuous endemic species populations, and rare and threatened ecosystems. Important ecosystems and ecological values have been subtly or dramatically degraded through tenure review, discretionary consents, and invasions of plant and animal pests.
Pollination is an essential ecosystem service that can be affected by habitat features in the immediate environment, termed here ‘local landscape features’. This study tested how five local landscape features (bare ground, native biodiversity plantings, homestead gardens, shelterbelts, and control areas of pasture) affect local pollinator communities on Canterbury farms. We also compared two sampling methods (flower visitation to native potted plants vs sticky traps) to determine if the sampling method affects the results of landscape-feature comparisons.
In a biodiversity conservation exercise a native raptor has been reintroduced to Marlborough, a wine-growing area in New Zealand’s South Island, on the assumption that the abundant passerines attracted to the grapes will provide a natural food resource for this predator.
Loss of indigenous habitat is a key factor in the decline of New Zealand’s biodiversity. A recent contribution by Walker et al. (2006, New Zealand Journal of Ecology 30: 169–177) described losses of indigenous vegetation between 1996/97 and 2001/02 (some 17 000 ha) based on an analysis of changes in the Land Cover Database, LCDB1 and LCDB2, respectively.