Gravel beaches are discrete, irregularly separated habitats along New Zealand’s coasts. They are one of a diverse range of small, disparate, naturally rare ecosystems that tend to occur in extreme environments, and provide critical habitat for threatened, rare and endemic species. New Zealand’s gravel beaches are threatened by urbanisation, weeds, adjacent agriculture, introduced animals and predicted sea-level rise.
Growing concerns about significant biodiversity decline due to agricultural intensification are increasingly leading consumers to seek agricultural products that are produced sustainably. To raise awareness of sustainable land management and direct policy and research to mitigate adverse impacts, large-scale bird monitoring programmes are being used in Europe. New Zealand’s first farmland bird monitoring scheme was established in 2004 to quantify bird abundance on 98 farms across three sectors (sheep & beef, dairy and kiwifruit).