New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2020) 44(2): 3411

Biodiversity monitoring, ecological integrity, and the design of the New Zealand Biodiversity Assessment Framework

Forum Article
Matt S McGlone 1*
Kate McNutt 2
Sarah J Richardson 1
Peter J Bellingham 1,3
Elaine F Wright 2
  1. Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, PO Box 69040, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand
  2. Department of Conservation/Te Papa Atawhai, Private Bag 4715, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
  3. School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

The New Zealand Department of Conservation is responsible for biodiversity management over approximately one-third of New Zealand’s land area and a network of marine protected areas; it also has a more general role in managing protected species and biodiversity advocacy. In 2004 the Department of Conservation began the development of a national natural heritage monitoring framework known as the New Zealand Biodiversity Assessment Framework, which has been operational since 2011. ‘Ecological integrity’ is the integrating biodiversity concept underpinning the framework and is widely used in reports, policy and New Zealand legislation. However, the term has been criticised as being vague and difficult to operationalise. Here, we discuss ecological integrity and its application in a New Zealand context, and its relationship with the widely used related concepts of ecosystem health and mauri. An overview of the design principles behind the Biodiversity Assessment Framework is presented and the National Outcome Objectives, which collectively build a picture of the state of ecological integrity, discussed.