New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2011) 35(3): 312- 317

Are predator-proof fences the answer to New Zealand’s terrestrial faunal biodiversity crisis?

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

A review of pest-exclusion fences throughout New Zealand shows that the goals of fence projects are frequently not achieved and cost-benefit analyses often do not adequately quantify ongoing costs. The creation of these sanctuaries enclosed by predator-proof fences often creates small expensive zoos surrounded by degraded habitat that will never be able to sustain the animal and plant species contained within the fence. We examine what fence proponents and conservation trusts believe they are achieving and ask whether the evidence available demonstrates that fenced areas are capable of fulfilling these objectives.