New strategy to tackle 'crisis' state of New Zealand's biodiversity

Posted by On 10:57 AM

New strategy to tackle 'crisis' state of New Zealand's biodiversity

New strategy to tackle 'crisis' state of New Zealand's biodiversity

STUFFConservation Minister Eugenie Sage discusses why the new biodiversity strategy is more important than ever.

รข€‹With New Zealand's indigenous biodiversity in a state of "crisis", a new national strategy is pertinent and timely, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says.

Speaking to Stuff at Napier's Ahuriri Estuary on Tuesday, Sage said New Zealand was experiencing a "biodiversity crisis".

"The [current strategy] we have, there have been issues like climate change. We've got to take more account of the pressure that's putting on our indigenous species and ecosystems," she said.

"We're seeing ... a huge interest in doing more restoration planting, doing more predator control, helping indigenous nature thrive, and I hope this strategy will be a really solid platform for a further injection of community effort and cooperation in protecting the species and the habitats that make Aotearoa special."

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81 per cent of New Zealand's native birds were under threat of extinction, Sage said.
MALCOLM PULLMAN81 per cent of New Zealand's native birds were under threat of extinction, Sage said.
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The "crisis" saw nearly 4000 species threatened or at risk of extinction, including 81 per cent of our native birds, all our lizards, both our bat species, and 74 per cent of our native fish, she said.

"Aotearoa evolved over 80 million years in isolation from any of the other continents like Australia and so our species evolved without mammalian predators.

"Humans came here, we've transformed the landscape, made large parts of it inhospitable and we introduced cats, rats, possums, ferrets and they've got an enormous impact on our indigenous wildlife and plants."

As part of developing the new strategy, three reference groups had been established.

Those would get underway this month, and public hui and consultation would begin in November, Sage said.The process was expected to take 16 months.

The new strategy was important because we depend on nature for our "economy, human health and wellbeing" ;.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage at Napier's Ahuriri Estuary on Tuesday.
ANDRE CHUMKO/STUFFConservation Minister Eugenie Sage at Napier's Ahuriri Estuary on Tuesday.

"We have an economy that's based on biodiversity. We've got a bio-economy - all of our exports, food ... rely on our reputation in terms of our indigenous nature and landscapes. Tourism - filming The Hobbit - that's our natural landscapes, our spectacular indigenous species."

The current New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy (NZBS) 2000 expires in 2020, hence the new strategy.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) would lead the project, working closely with regional and district councils and other government agencies.

Any costs would be a p art of the department's normal baseline, Sage said.

There may be debate about the relative priority of introduced species such as deer, Sage said, but overall the process was a "positive" one.

"[It's about] recognising the significance of our indigenous plants and wildlife, our natural landscapes and how we can safeguard them."

New Zealand's native plants and wildlife, such as the kauri tree, pictured, were in "serious trouble", Eugenie Sage said.
STUFFNew Zealand's native plants and wildlife, such as the kauri tree, pictured, were in "serious trouble", Eugenie Sage said.

Sally Gepp, one of Forest & Bird's representatives on the strategy working group, said it welcomed the review.

< p> "The existing NZBS is an important document that sets the agenda for biodiversity protection in New Zealand, but what has been lacking is the willingness at the central government and local authority level to ensure its objectives are achieved," Gepp said.

"As a result, we are continuing to see a decline in indigenous biodiversity, mainly due to habitat loss and pest plants and animals, but we hope that the tide is turning."

A DOC spokeswoman said it wouldn't be commenting.

The NZBS was part of New Zealand's international responsibility under the United Nations' Convention of Biological Diversity.

Stuff

Source: Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand

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