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Protecting our precious places

QEII involved in research partnership

Looking for biodiversity gains on the ground

Bill Lee, Landcare Research

QEII is one of the project partners in a research programme run by Landcare Research called Sustaining and Restoring Biodiversity.

The programme aims to reverse the ongoing decline in indigenous biodiversity by undertaking research with and for the Department of Conservation, QEII Trust, a range of iwi, and regional government.

Funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, it is an example of a new model for overseeing and implementing Crown-funded research into terrestrial ecosystems, termed Outcome Based Investments.

As the name suggests, the new model challenges researchers to work with key biodiversity protection agencies to achieve defined biodiversity outcomes on the ground.

QEII, through representation by CEO on the Governance Board, has a key role to ensure that the research projects deliver appropriate results that can be accessed and used by the different biodiversity protection agencies.

The eight-year programme will run through to 2013 and involves the following five major strands covering key areas for biodiversity protection:

  1. Reducing extinction risk by sustaining genetic diversity in indigenous plants and animals.
  2. Enhancing critical interactions (e.g. pollination, seed dispersal, grazing, nutrient transfer) involving native birds.
  3. Increasing the effectiveness of conservation flagships (e.g. biodiversity sanctuaries, iconic species such as kiwi).
  4. Maintaining threatened rare ecosystems (e.g. wetlands, geothermal sites, sand dunes).
  5. Restoring dryland biodiversity through facilitating the return of woody communities.

Photo below: Maintaining threatened ecosystems, such as this dune wetland in the Willis covenant near Foxton, is a major focus of the research. Photo: Tony Gates

Dune wetland covenant near Foxton

Landcare Research is working in partnership with QEII and others to achieve a defined biodiversity outcome for each strand over the duration of the research.

For example, in the dryland ecosystem area we are aiming to increase woody vegetation cover and the populations of selected threatened species by 10%.

This target outcome will be a major challenge but we believe our new partnership with QEI will maximise opportunity for these gains to occur due to QEII’s positive working relationship with landowners.

We will regularly report findings of interest to landowners in Open Space magazine and on the QEII website.

For an outline of our research, associated publications and project contacts visit Landcare Research.

Open SpaceTM
Magazine No. 68, November 2006 © QEII National Trust

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