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Work under way to set Ecosystem priorities


21 February 2018


Work under way to set Ecosystem priorities

Deciding on the priorities to look after and enhance special ecosystem sites in Hawke’s Bay is well underway.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council biodiversity staff have this week reported on the progress being made to prioritise work to protect the region’s important ecosystems.

The Biodiversity Strategy and its partner Action Plan have been developed by a wide range of people interested in seeing positive transformational change in biodiversity across the Hawke’s Bay region. However, the challenge is significant with large losses to biodiversity across New Zealand – and Hawke’s Bay is no different.

“Setting realistic priorities is critical to achieving the best outcomes with the funds our community entrusts to us. A clear set of priorities across the region will enable the coordination of all our varied community and agency efforts to realise the long term vision,” says Charles Daugherty, Interim Chair of the Hawkes Bay Regional Biodiversity Foundation.

Ecosystem-based conservation is an important part of the approach being taken. It means maintaining and restoring a full range of remaining habitats and ecosystems as a way to conserve species diversity and natural processes. This has become the mainstream approach to protecting native (indigenous) biodiversity, compared to species-based protection.

“To increase our knowledge of what ecosystems we have left in Hawke’s Bay and what needs protecting, the region has been mapped. We’ve identified 60 or so land-based ecosystem types in 500,000 hectares of indigenous areas,” says the Council’s Terrestrial Ecologist, Keiko Hashiba.

Of the sixty types, 22 are threatened – mostly lowland forest, coast and dune vegetation, braided river vegetation and wetlands.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has been working on Zonation – a robust planning tool to prioritise ecosystems. This produces the best set of sites for action by asking ‘of the remaining indigenous ecosystems, how much can we manage in a given timeframe?’

Setting priorities for restoring ecosystems will allow progress to be tracked regionally. It will also strengthen the alignment of agency and community work towards biodiversity outcomes, help direct the regional council’s funding allocation processes, and enable the Biodiversity Guardians and Hawke’s Bay Biodiversity Foundation to drive a much greater level of biodiversity recovery.

ends

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