Aligned research

  • Monitoring tree growth. Image - Department of Conservation

    Monitoring tree growth. Image - Department of Conservation

Tier 1 monitoring programme: Department of Conservation (DOC)

DOC’s National (Tier 1) monitoring programme consists of a network of approximately 1,400 permanent sites on an 8 x 8 km grid across public conservation land. The programme is designed to provide national-scale estimates of status and trend in biodiversity condition. DOC has been working with and supporting the BioHeritage Challenge by:

  • providing a fundamental source of biodiversity data for researchers
  • along with regional councils, working with researchers at Manaaki Whenua and the University of Auckland to test and refine field methodologies for plot-based biodiversity assessments using eDNA
  • sharing skills and knowledge to support the development of a national eDNA informatics platform
How do pest control regimes impact native biodiversity? Dr Rachelle Binny, Manaaki Whenua

Despite decades of small mammal pest control aimed at conserving New Zealand’s unique native biota, there is still uncertainty around its impacts for biodiversity at a national scale. Dr Rachelle Binny is comparing the responses of native plants, animals and ecological communities to the major pest control regimes.

Different regimes include fenced sanctuaries, unfenced mainland islands, pest-free offshore islands, and large-scale possum control. Ecological communities in each regime may have different responses depending on which pests are removed and which pests remain in the ecosystem. For example, a fenced sanctuary where all species of mammal pests are removed may have a different response compared to an ecological community where just possums are the primary control target.

Rachelle is analysing long-term monitoring data aggregated from DOC mainland islands and fenced and unfenced sanctuaries to gain insights into the dynamics of pests and native species, and into key processes driving biodiversity recovery. This work is funded by Manaaki Whenua, and is aligned with the BioHeritage Challenge and Te Pūnaha Matatini Centre of Research Excellence.