High throughput DNA sequencing technology has enabled entire biological communities to be characterised from DNA derived from pools of organisms, such as bulk-collected invertebrates, or DNA extracted from environmental samples (e.g. soil). These DNA-based techniques have the potential to revolutionise biodiversity monitoring.
To effectively monitor bird populations, accurate identification of species is critical. However, the reliability of species identification is rarely taken into account or quantified. For this study, bird call data was collected using automated acoustic recording devices (ARDs) over a 3-year period. We then compared the results from experienced ornithologists who independently identified bird calls from the same samples. Results were highly variable.
Four iterations of the New Zealand Land Cover Database have been produced from satellite imagery for nominal dates of 1996/97, 2001/02, 2008/09 and 2012/13. These data may be used to estimate changes in area for land cover classes of interest. However, these estimates are subject to uncertainty, which can be significant, particularly when change in area is small. Changes in indigenous vegetation classes are of interest for a number of applications, including monitoring threatened environments.
In New Zealand, assessment of ‘significance’ is undertaken to give effect to a legal requirement for local authorities to provide for protection of significant sites under the Resource Management Act (1991). The ambiguity of the statute enables different interests to define significance according to their goals: vested interests (developers), local authorities, and non-vested interests in pursuit of protection of environmental public goods may advance different definitions. We examine two sets of criteria used for assessment of significance for biological diversity under the Act.