This Portfolio will lead to improvements in the targeting and efficacy of policy and management intended to protect and restore terrestrial biodiversity.
Research focuses on (i) determining the effect of losing genetic diversity and keystone species, (ii) understanding the character and significance of naturally rare ecosystems for sustaining biodiversity, and (iii) improving the resilience of major threatened biomes. Projects also cover how biodiversity in sensitive ecosystems (wetlands) and ecotones (treeline) responds to major disturbances (fire, climate and human impacts) over variable ecological time scales in order to determine the impact of global change.
Research of particular relevance to Māori includes wetland ecosystem management with the Tainui Waikato Raupatu Rover Trust; podocarp forest management with Tūhoe Tuawhenua Trust; a bicultural management framework to help increase coastal forest recovery with Hauraki, Ngāti Awa, Ngātiwai and Ngā Uri o Whakaki; and Marsden-funded palaeoecological studies on the timing of settlement on the Chatham Islands Hokotehi Moriori Trust – Chatham Islands.
Key research partners include the University of Canterbury and Massey University (bird pollination and dispersal mutualisms); and the University of Otago (conservation genetics).
Research priority areas:
- Restoring dryland biodiversity
- Maintaining rare ecosystems
- Sustaining genetic diversity
- Managing biodiversity initiatives
- Sustaining critical species interactions
- Iconic species & eco-sanctuaries
- Biodiversity & global change
- Tē Hiringa Tangata
- Restoring wetland ecosystem function