Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Calculating aggregated bird indicators for reporting

We are working with the Department of Conservation to develop protocols for calculating aggregated bird indicators for reporting.

Species occupancy

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is currently implementing a system for biodiversity monitoring and reporting on public conservation lands in New Zealand. Assessing whether ‘species present on conservation lands are the ones we would naturally expect’ is a key goal of this system. This goal is termed ‘species occupancy’. Exploring how specific indicators and measures assessing the status and trends of birds can be aggregated for reporting on the species occupancy goal is a key challenge DOC needs to address.

Key questions

  • Where is a given species expected to occur naturally? What do we know about its current distribution? Is it widespread nationally or does it have a restricted range within a particular region?
  • How should the area occupied by a species be measured and calculated?
  • How secure is a species from a conservation perspective? What is a species’ threat status?
  • How responsive is that species to management actions? What are the trends in numbers and occupancy/distribution?
  • What are the data sources used to inform this analysis? Are they trustworthy?
  • How is this information collated for multiple species? Is the resulting metric understood and useful?
  • How can this information be calculated and reported for different areas of interest?
  • Do New Zealanders value all bird species equally? Can such ‘values’ information be used for calculating and reporting biodiversity indicators and, if so, how?

Our research

Our research is exploring these questions with a view to developing protocols for calculating such an aggregated indicator.

These protocols will be suitable for reporting not only for New Zealand’s public conservation lands but also for private lands, hence suitable for use in both regional and national reporting.

In particular, we expect the protocols to contribute to the regional and national state-of-environment reporting initiatives being led by the Regional Council Biodiversity Working Group, Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand.