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Biodiversity awareness among landowners rising

Biodiversity awareness among landowners on the rise

North Canterbury regional councillor, Ross Little, has welcomed the results of a recent survey among rural landowners in Canterbury, indicating that they were becoming more and more aware of the importance of biodiversity.

The survey, commissioned by Environment Canterbury, found that 90 percent of all respondents felt that the protection of biodiversity was important, with almost 60 percent having taken some action to improve or protect biodiversity values on their properties and 83 percent planning to do so in future.

Cr Little, Environment Canterbury’s Land Portfolio chair, says surveys done in the past few months by other organisations corroborated the ECan survey. “In a few years, scrub has become indigenous vegetation, bogs and swamps are now wetlands, and river banks are riparian margins! These results show how radically attitudes have changed - not too long ago, government gave incentives to farmers to "develop marginal lands", including native vegetation and wetlands. New Zealand has a unique range of plants, animals, and other species, and we must all play a role in looking after them,” says Cr Little.

He points out that almost half the people surveyed rated ‘a personal responsibility to leave the earth in good shape for future generations’ as the main reason for the importance of protecting biodiversity. “We all value the pleasant features of the place we live. Farming families are particularly attached to the place they live, as their lives are physically entwined with the environment around them. Farmers also have much of our biodiversity on their land. I am delighted therefore with the results of the Environment Canterbury survey, which reveals a high appreciation of biodiversity values on Canterbury farms.”

Cr Little says the survey showed that most farmers believed their properties contained some biodiversity values and had undertaken action to maintain or improve it. Of those who believed they had biodiversity areas on their farms, weed and pest control, which benefits biodiversity values, was the most widely applied. In addition, 45 percent of those surveyed had fenced or planted wetlands, 55 percent protected streamsides and 26 percent bushland. “As land portfolio chair, I have tried for some years to advance a survey like this, as I believe demonstrating how widespread these values have become, and the actions being taken, must surely encourage others.”


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