The significance of sheep and beef farms to conservation of native vegetation in New Zealand

Relying solely on public conservation lands for habitat provision will be inadequate for achieving national conservation goals. Production landscapes in New Zealand make up 60% of the land area and contain potential conservation habitat; however, the amount of native vegetation they contain is poorly known. While there have been previous assessments of native vegetation cover in New Zealand, no study has undertaken a national-scale assessment of multiple native vegetation cover types on different land uses. This absence limits the potential to manage production landscapes for conservation.

South Island high country: let’s get it right this time

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.

Do local landscape features affect wild pollinator abundance, diversity and community composition on Canterbury farms?

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.

Re-examination of recent loss of indigenous cover in New Zealand and the relative contributions of different land uses

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.