2014 innovation stories
Our Core Purpose is to drive innovation
NVS – improving understanding of what exists (and existed) and where
New Zealand has an incredibly diverse landscape spanning extensive forests and grasslands, alpine snowfields, and rugged seascapes. Component ecosystems comprise a wide range of vegetation types.
Wētā tracking - how do we know when translocations are successful?
Translocations are proving crucial for the survival of giant wētā species as habitat destruction and predation continue to impact our most iconic native invertebrates. Compared to large threatened fauna, such as native birds, insects like wētā are very difficult to monitor when at low densities.
Wilding pines – the exotic invasion
Wilding conifers, also known as wilding pines, are invasive tree species in New Zealand’s high country. Each year public agencies spend millions of dollars trying to control the spread, while some individual farmers spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Award-winning TB research
The brushtail possum has wrought havoc in New Zealand since being introduced from Australia in 1837. As well as impacting native flora and fauna, possums are the main vectors of bovine tuberculosis (TB), a disease of cattle that historically affected many people.
Soil carbon – measure to manage
There is more carbon in the top one metre of soil than there is in all above-ground vegetation and in the atmosphere. Could we manage our farms to increase soil organic carbon levels, potentially off-setting the emissions from other farm activities?
Informing and supporting use of our native plants
Interest in traditional uses of native plants, particularly for weaving and rongoa (natural medicine) has been increasing in recent years.
SedNetNZ – informing the high-stakes game of erosion reduction
In land-use decision making the stakes are high. Consider hill country erosion, which has an annual cost of $100-150m per year through loss of soil and nutrients, lost production, and damage to homes, infrastructure and waterways.
Broom biocontrol – promising signs
Broom (Cytisus scoparius) is thriving in many parts of New Zealand in the absence of the more than 30 species that evolved over many years in Europe to feed on the shrub and keep it in check.
Plant identification keys – helping to protect our bioheritage
Invasive weeds are a major biosecurity and biodiversity problem in New Zealand. Our productive and natural landscapes have been severely impacted by weeds that have rapidly become established.
New land cover database – how is our landscape changing?
New Zealand’s landscape is changing but understanding exactly how that change is occurring and the intricacies involved are complex.
Pest fencing or pest trapping?
New Zealanders’ interest in ecological restoration has never been greater. There are now more than 60 sanctuaries around the country where introduced mammal pests are being controlled to protect native flora and fauna.
Digital soil mapping – improving understanding of a key resource
More than one-quarter of New Zealand’s GDP is dependent on our soil but information about this critical resource, essential to maximising land productivity and minimising environmental impacts, is incomplete for much of the country.