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New biodiversity website and report launched

New biodiversity website and report launched

The public will now be able to keep track of efforts to save New Zealand's flora and fauna on a new website launched by Conservation Minister Chris Carter today.

The site, http:// http://www.biodiversity.govt.nz, draws together efforts from across a string of government departments to halt the decline of New Zealand's native species.

The site includes progress reports and case studies of work underway on land, in freshwater and marine environments to meet the aims of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy launched two years ago.

Links are provided on the site to legislation, international agreements and information resources, such as collections of flora and fauna.

The site also has a section giving people information on ways they can get involved in biodiversity conservation.

"This is a one stop shop for information of interest to anyone keen on conserving our natural heritage," Mr Carter said.

"It is an easy way for people to monitor what the Government is doing about protecting their environmental birth right."

He said one of the first items on the site would be the second New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy annual report also released today.

“The report shows significant achievements have been made over the past year as a result of additional biodiversity funding provided by the Government.

“One of the major successes in the past 12 months has been the completion of the rat eradication project on the sub-Antarctic Campbell Island”, said Mr Carter.

Biodiversity funding had also enabled pest control and monitoring programmes to be established to protect kiwi in five sanctuaries in Northland, Coromandel, Tongariro, Okarito, and Haast.

“We’ve also achieved protection of an additional 6000 hectares of indigenous vegetation and associated wildlife on private land through covenanting and purchase by QEII National Trust, Nature Heritage Fund and Nga Whenua Rahui”.

Other achievements for the year included:

Significant additional surveillance, control and contingency planning for animal and plant pests, including an additional 46,000 hectares of possum control, goat control at 12 sites, more than 60 weed control projects, and eradications planned for freshwater fish pests found at 12 new sites.
Establishment of an Indigenous Flora and Fauna Unit within the MAF Biosecurity Authority to improve biosecurity risk assessment.
New projects to manage threatened native species including Hector’s dolphin, flax snails, tree daisies and other threatened plants, and freshwater fish.
Important progress in the implementation of marine programmes including investigations into six new marine reserves and baseline surveys at seven ports to facilitate future monitoring for biosecurity purposes.

But Mr Carter said the annual report also highlighted some of the significant ongoing threats facing New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity. For example, populations of mohua (yellowhead) - once a common forest bird in New Zealand – were continuing to decline.

Even in intensively managed areas, mohua populations had been reduced by more than 70% in the last two years due to eruptions of rat and stoat populations.

“While we can celebrate the good progress being made by funded programmes, there is clearly still a lot of work to be done to achieve the Biodiversity Strategy’s goal of halting the decline of our indigenous species”, Mr Carter said.

Copies of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy Second Annual Report of Programme Performance 2001/02 will be available at the launch and can be found online at http:// http://www.biodiversity.govt.nz.

The biodiversity website has been developed by the four key agencies responsible for implementing the NZBS; Department of Conservation, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry for the Environment. The site is hosted by the Department of Conservation.

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