Biological Heritage Update Issue 15, November 2017

Kia ora koutou katoa

Welcome to the newsletter of the NZ’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

Science Programmes up and running

We’re delighted to have all our research funding now allocated, with our final project in Programme 3 (‘Enhancing the ecological function of biodiversity in agroecosystems’) contracted to Dr Hannah Buckley and a national team from AUT, AgResearch, University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury.

You can find more information on all our research projects on our website.

Over the coming months, we’ll be providing regular updates on the science programme, our highlights and successes so far, and our planning for the second ‘Tranche’ of Challenge funding from July 2019.

Science excellence

Kia mau tonu ki ngā tapu taonga o ngā mātua tūpuna
(Hold fast to the sacred treasures of our ancestors)

A big shout out to Dr Phil Lyver (Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research) and Prof Jason Tylianakis (University of Canterbury) with their letter in Science: Indigenous peoples: conservation paradox in July. This publication explores a type of social feedback which can drive ecosystem decline, which emerges from a paradoxical disconnect between the stated importance of indigenous peoples to conservation aims (in national and international policy) and the legislative exclusion of indigenous peoples from carrying out management practices in their own cultural context. You can read more about Phil’s project here.

Dr Phil Lyver (Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research) and Prof Jason Tylianakis (University of Canterbury).

Dr Phil Lyver (Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research) and Prof Jason Tylianakis (University of Canterbury)

Where will our biological heritage be in 2050?

In late 2016, the New Zealand Ecological Society conference joined forces with SER (the Australasian Society for Ecological Restoration) for their annual conference, which was held in Hamilton. Prof David Norton (University of Canterbury) and a BioH Challenge team asked the question: How do we restore New Zealand’s biological heritage by 2050? Their ideas were written up in this article in Ecological Management and Restoration.

Science relevance

Our goals

All of our science projects are focused on five big goals aimed at building resilience to global threats and pressures:

  1. Protect and restore: secure threatened species and resilient ecosystems
  2. Eliminate threats: weeds, pests, pathogens and mammal predators
  3. Detect and eradicate: zero impacts from biosecurity incursions
  4. Restore healthy freshwater: wai taonga and mahinga kai
  5. Track our progress: a bioheritage scorecard for Aotearoa

Knowledge Brokers

Obviously, scientists alone cannot be expected to achieve these goals. It’s a long and sometimes convoluted path from generating new knowledge to achieving big goals or outcomes for new Zealand – and often means co-designing research projects with people who are experienced in shaping policy. To facilitate that process, we created three ‘Knowledge Broker’ positions. Knowledge Brokers Bill Dyck, Thomas Malcom and Kevin Collins work directly with our Project Leaders on stakeholder engagement. You can find out more about them, and what they do, here.

Knowledge Brokers Bill Dyck, Thomas Malcom and Kevin Collins.

Knowledge Brokers Bill Dyck, Thomas Malcom and Kevin Collins.

Mid-way review of Science Challenges and planning for Tranche 2 funding

MBIE will shortly be providing Terms of Reference for a mid-way review of all Science Challenges, which will be conducted between May and August 2018. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we know more. In the meantime, our Science Leadership Group has been working with key stakeholders, Māori communities, our Project Leaders, Kāhui Māori, and our Governance Group to plan for the review. We’ll be providing a lot more information on our planning for Tranche 2, including how you can get involved, over the coming months.

Noho ora mai,

Video update

Challenge Director Dr Andrea Byrom gives us the short version of this newsletter via a video update.

You can find more of our videos on our YouTube channel.