‘Biodiversity' means the variety of life on earth. Because Northland has a subtropical, oceanic climate and wide variety of habitat types, the region has an unusually high diversity of plants and animals, including many species that can be found nowhere else in New Zealand, or in the world (known as ‘endemic' species).

Kauri Snail.

Photo: The Kauri Snail was widespread in Northland before human settlement

As one of the key environmental agencies in the region, the Council provides advice on biodiversity and funding for landowners wanting to undertake long-term biodiversity projects. The ‘Environment Fund' has been established for more than ten years and has provided over $2 million to help people improve and protect Northland's natural environment.

In addition, the Council undertakes biodiversity monitoring and management in the region and is involved in a number of projects to help collect and manage the information available about biodiversity in Northland.

Biodiversity and land performance targets

To promote the sustainable management of land, including soil, water, and ecosystems in the Northland Region by:

· Promoting sustainable land management practices by providing advice on land use alternatives, land development techniques, soil conservation and drainage - ACHIEVED

· Developing and promoting indigenous biodiversity policies for Northland, including designing and setting up an indigenous biodiversity database for Northland – ACHIEVED

· Supporting biodiversity protection and enhancement on private land, by community groups, and through the Environment Fund – ACHIEVED

· Report on applications to the Environment Fund, and progress with previously approved Environment Fund projects, annually - ACHIEVED

Key points

· The Council's land management staff responded to 95 biodiversity enquiries during 2008-09.

· 22 enquiries were referred to the Council's Environment Fund for advice.

· Types of enquiries received included:

   - identification of plants and animals

   - advice on wetland or bush management

   - site information requests

   - requests for assistance to assess property biodiversity value

· More than $2.5 million has been awarded through the Environment Fund, to help people improve and protect Northland's natural environment.

· The Priority Wetlands Project will see Northland's remaining wetlands ranked in order of ecological importance and type.

· Erosion prone soils throughout Northland are being mapped, allowing the Council to focus its efforts on priority areas and issues.