Recent EnviroLink projects
Here’s a sampler of what we’ve been doing for regional councils through the EnviroLink system; a great demonstration of the breadth of our work – look below for dung beetles, pest mammals, plantation forests, soils data, restoration, ecology, and systems thinking
Soil Water Holding Capacity Data into NSDR
Two projects were supported by Marlborough District and Hawke’s Bay Regional Councils as part of a cross-agency initiative to ‘save’ crucial legacy data from sites where soil water-holding data had been measured. The projects uploaded data (descriptions, photos, chemistry, and physics analytical data) from 76 soil profiles into the NSDR from predominantly the Wairau Valley and Hawke’s Bay areas. Analysis was conducted to compare this ‘new’ data with the current predictions that S-map models give for these soils, with better predictions typically found for subsoils than topsoils. The Council’s use these data to improve land management and water quality-policy decision making, particularly through the information provided to end-users through S-map. The data will also be used in the next update of S-map soil attributes. For more information on soil water-holding capacity check the article on Soil + Water above.
Contact: Sam Carrick firstname.lastname@example.org
Dung Beetle Evaluation
We assessed the potential environmental benefits of dung beetle releases in several catchments in the Gisborne District where ruminant farming, mainly beef cattle but some dairying, takes place.
Contact: Quentin Paynter email@example.com
Systems Thinking for Complex Environmental Problems
Two small advice grants enabled us to run workshops on how systems thinking can improve the planning, prioritization, delivery, and reporting of Council work programmes. The first workshop was held in Invercargill and focused on how to integrate systems thinking into Environment Southland’s 2018–2028 Long-Term Plan process. The second workshop (to be held on 12 December) will present the logic of systems thinking approaches to both Environment Southland councillors and staff. Systems thinking and systems dynamics experts with experience working for and with regional councils have been invited to speak to Environment Southland at this second workshop.
Contact: Nick Kirk firstname.lastname@example.org
Ecological integrity and conservation significance of Upper Ripa, a Critically Threatened frost flat heathland in Hawke's Bay
This project determined and mapped the extent of the ecosystem in the upper Waipunga Valley. Vegetation and physical parameters were assessed at pre-determined random positions. Analyses the determined the ecological integrity and conservation value of the site. We established monitoring protocols to assess future change, and to place it in the wider context of the ecosystem.
Contact: Neil Fitzgerald email@example.com
Herbivorous mammal impacts on the production landscape
Introduced herbivorous mammals are common and widespread in New Zealand, affecting production landscapes and environmental assets in many areas. Some species (e.g. Bennett's and dama wallabies and fallow deer) are increasing in numbers and extending their geographical ranges into previously unaffected landscapes. In some areas, multiple species occur sympatrically, creating complex and potentially compounding impacts on pasture, crops, and native vegetation. However, there are limited data quantifying the grazing impacts of most species and none that have quantified the grazing impacts of sympatric herbivore pests. This information is critical for landowners to assess how grazing impacts affect them economically and to control pests effectively and affordably. Further, it is important for councils wanting an informed understanding of production impacts for including and justifying species as pests within their RPMPs and helping to make strategic and operational decisions. We conducted a comprehensive review of the existing information available.
Contact: Dave Latham firstname.lastname@example.org
Options for the restoration of Tuamotu Island, Tairawhiti
Tuamotu Island, the sole island in the Turanga Ecological District, has high cultural significance and is co-managed between the Gisborne District Council and Ngati Oneone, who are mana whenua for the island. Following a field survey, and comparison with a similar survey undertaken in 1990, a restoration plan was developed to assess the best options for undertaking the island’s ecological restoration, using plant species (including threatened species) appropriate to habitat and the district. Recommendations for site preparation, maintenance, and monitoring were also included. The ecological restoration plan provides the basis for the Ngati Oneone – GDC management group to incorporate cultural priorities and aspirations, and early European historical values.
Contact: Bev Clarkson email@example.com
Development of best practice consent conditions to effectively protect indigenous fauna within plantation forests
We undertook a comprehensive literature review of current knowledge on indigenous fauna within plantation forests in New Zealand and the impact of forest harvest, and contacted regional councils to identify any existing consent or compliance requirements. We also reviewed international literature on practices used to conserve fauna within production forestry landscapes. Given the diverse habitat requirements, dispersal abilities, and threat status of native fauna, we concluded that a multifaceted approach would be required. This approach would include retaining some areas of forest with high structural complexity (‘Retention forestry’ is now the main overseas approach to fauna conservation in production forests), maintaining mixed-aged exotic stands, and continuing with individual threatened species programmes. This work was undertaken for Gisborne District Council.
Contact: Paul Peterson firstname.lastname@example.org