15. Indigenous Biodiversity

Taikirau Swamp, Motatau.


RPS Objectives

· Maintenance of the biodiversity of the Northland region.

· Protection of the life supporting capacity of ecosystems through avoiding, remedying or mitigating (in that order of priority) the adverse effects of activities, substances and introduced species on the functioning of natural ecosystems.

· Protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and the significant habitats of indigenous fauna.


· Pest animals and pest plants threaten a number of indigenous species and ecosystems.

· Land development through subdivision and intensification of agricultural land use threatens habitats.

· Potentially climate change will further threaten indigenous species and also allow some new pest species to establish as well as allowing some existing pest or native species to expand their range.


· Less than 5% of Northland's wetlands remain as a result of drainage and disturbance. Some wetland types are now close to being lost forever. Remaining wetlands are under pressure from drainage, invasion by pest plants, fertiliser run-off and animal wastes, water abstractions, clearance of riparian and catchment vegetation, pine planting and logging, weir and dam construction, reclamation for urban development, grazing and trampling of littoral vegetation by stock.

· Overall the biodiversity of indigenous vegetation is declining with a decrease in the land area covered in indigenous vegetation from 1997 to 2002 and indigenous plant species becoming nationally or regionally threatened with some species already extinct in Northland. Many once common habitat types, such as riverine floodplain forest and dunefields, are now critically threatened due to land development pressures. However a significant proportion of this remaining indigenous vegetation is legally protected.

· Many "nationally critical" threatened species (those most under threat of extinction) are found in Northland, including 28 plants, 36 terrestrial animals and five freshwater or marine animal species.

· Kiwi populations are currently being managed at about 30 sites across Northland, covering approximately 53,000 ha. This predominately involves pest control and public education. Due to these efforts, the kiwi population in Northland in these managed areas is increasing. Since 1999, kiwi call rates have stabilised, with an increase in call rates at one of the four areas monitored.

Doing well

· There is excellent co-operation between agencies in Northland, particularly through the Northland Biodiversity Enhancement Group.

· Good community support for the NRC Environment Fund, with $1.5 million allocated to various biodiversity protection and enhancement projects since the fund was established in 1996.

· Of the 416,900 ha of indigenous vegetation land cover in Northland in 2002, approximately 36% of it was legally protected in 2006.

· There are over 50 active environmental land care groups in the region.

· There is a large number of landowners carrying out active biosecurity management and biodiversity enhancement on their properties throughout Northland.

Areas for improvement

· Better identification of biodiversity in Northland including more data collection and storage of baseline information.

· Proactive approach to protecting priority areas as well as consolidating and connecting fragmented areas already protected.

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Published: 03 Apr 2008