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Regional Biodiversity Information Gathered

Regional Biodiversity Information Gathered

The Southern North Island Forest Gecko is an ‘at risk’ species included in the recently published Hawke’s Bay’s Biodiversity Inventory.
Southern NI Forest Gecko Southern North Island Forest Gecko at risk

While the gecko is doing well in the protected surrounds of Lake Opouahi north of Napier, the inventory details other creatures and plants in Hawke’s Bay that need help.

The Hawke’s Bay Biodiversity Inventory was presented to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Environment and Services Committee this week (Wednesday 13 August). http://data.hbrc.govt.nz/meetings/Open/2014/ESC_13082014_AGN_AT.PDF

The inventory is a new document that summarises existing information on biodiversity to provide an understanding of habitats and populations of birds, insects, lizards and fish. It will guide the development of the Hawke’s Bay Biodiversity Strategy, which will set priorities for action in the region.

Regional Councillor Peter Beaven chaired the committee meeting and said “This stocktake of biodiversity in our region is a result of input from a diverse range of organisations. The effort to secure habitat to restore and maintain biodiversity will involve both public and private land, so full community involvement is critical to our task.”

The development of the biodiversity inventory has been a collaborative effort involving Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Animal Health Board, Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, Dairy NZ, Department of Conservation, Farm Forestry Committee, Federated Farmers, Fish & Game New Zealand, Forest & Bird, Hastings District Council, Hawke’s Bay Forestry Group, Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association, Mana Ahuriri Iwi Inc., Maori Trustee, Ministry for Primary Industries, Napier City Council, Ngā Whenua Rāhui, Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, QE II National Trust, and Te Taio Hawke’s Bay Environment Forum.

Published information and expert opinion has been used to compile the inventory of vulnerable species and land, freshwater, coastal & marine, and rare habitats in Hawke’s Bay. The Appendices include lists of threatened birds and habitats plus a map of recommended areas for protection.

The inventory is a ‘living document’ which will be added to as new information is gathered.
Habitat loss is severe in Hawke’s Bay from the foothills to the main ranges where most of this land is in private ownership. Threatened habitat types include lowland podocarp forests, lowland streams and rivers, freshwater wetlands, and sand dunes.

Several species have already been lost to the region. Others, like Hawke’s Bay’s kakabeak plants, are still endangered, although the efforts of many people and organisations are helping numbers to recover.

Experts have completed the detailed habitat mapping for threatened birds in the inventory, but this was the only subject where there was sufficient knowledge to do so.

The inventory also identifies gaps in the knowledge of all the organisations. For example, scant information exists on smaller organisms such as moss, lichens and insects, and there are knowledge gaps for lizards because their sparse populations make them difficult to study.

The criteria and process for setting priorities for biodiversity enhancement efforts will now be developed as part of the biodiversity strategy. The prioritisation will take in a range of factors, such as data from ecological surveys and the willingness of the community to assist, as they have for a number of significant projects in action around Hawke’s Bay.


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