Linking biodiversity, ecosystem services and land cover
This research aims to understand and develop the relationship between biodiversity, land cover and ecosystem services by:
Quantitative review of land-cover, biodiversity and ecosystem services relationships
This part of the programme examines the relationships between ecosystem services and land cover (as a proxy for biodiversity) through the collation and meta-analysis of evidence available from previous research. A systematic review is underway to capture and assess quantitative data on the provision of ecosystem services across different land covers. This is PhD research being undertaken by Carla Gómez Creutzberg under the supervision of Jason Tylianakis (University of Canterbury).
Developing bicultural indicators
Working with Tūhoe Tuawhenua and Ngāti Whare, this research is developing community-based approaches to monitor and manage forest health and integrity.
In the first stage of research with Tuawhenua, a worldview framework has been developed to interpret the key values the community associates with their forest. To measure progress towards achieving their values a community-based monitoring approach has been developed. Community indicators identified were grouped within nine culturally relevant categories: (i) Food procurement (Mahinga kai); (ii) Natural productivity (Hua o te whenua); (iii) Nature of water (Āhua o te wai); (iv) Nature of the land (Āhua o te whenua); (v) Nature of the forest (Āhua o te ngahere); (vi) Perpetual occupation of land and place (Ahikaaroa); (vii) Spiritual dimension (Taha wairua); (viii) Physical health (Taha kikokiko); and (ix) Mental health (Taha hinengaro). This approach is an important step for the Tuawhenua as they develop plans for securing the health of their lands, waterways and forests while maximising future conservation and livelihood opportunities. To determine how community-based and simplified DOC Tier-1 monitoring systems describe the health of ecosystems, both monitoring approaches were applied in two mixed podcarp–tawa forests under different management scenarios.
The second stage of research with Ngāti Whare will build on this initial work by identifying indicators and metrics relevant to their communities and using these to monitor changes in forest ecosystem health in response to customary management approaches and procedures.
Linking vegetation attributes to ecosystem services
The aim of this research was to demonstrate the application of ecosystem services thinking to natural resource management and conservation decision making, through a case study of the riparian programme in the Taranaki region. A theoretical framework has been developed that explicitly links natural capital stocks to ecosystem service provision and identifies manageable attributes of natural capital stocks as the critical intervention point. Through farm-scale case studies farmer perspectives of the on-farm and off-farm pros and cons of reintroducing natural capital stocks (e.g. planted multifunctional riparian margins) for the provision of ecosystem services have been documented. This PhD research has been undertaken by Fleur Maseyk (The University of Queensland, Australia) under the supervision of Hugh Possingham (The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), Yvonne M. Buckley (The University of Dublin, Ireland) and Alec Mackay (AgResearch, Grasslands, New Zealand).
Developing a conceptual tool to integrate indigenous and local knowledge with science
A new conceptual tool has been developed that enables policy makers around the world to integrate indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) alongside science and other information as they make decisions on the use, management, and conservation of natural resources.