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Auckland Council Monitoring Report Robust Science

Forest and Bird, The Tree Council and the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society are dismayed but not surprised at the recent attacks on the scientific credibility of the Auckland Council Monitoring Report that describes the increased spread of kauri dieback in the Waitakere Ranges between 2011 and 2016.

“Deniers of the science will always try to undermine the basis for good quality decision making. Unfortunately for them this report is robust and credible and has been independently peer reviewed, so the science does indisputably stack up” says The Tree Council’s Secretary Dr Mels Barton.

When the report was released in December 2017 it had already been independently peer reviewed by the Department of Conservation. That independent review supported both the methodology used to collect the data and the conclusions drawn from it.

More recently a supplementary independent analysis has been done by Auckland Council’s Research and Evaluation Unit (RIMU) of the original data and that report is currently awaiting publication (which will also include scientific peer review) in an independent journal. This supplementary analysis demonstrates an even stronger correlation between the presence of disease and the location of tracks that was clearly demonstrated in the original report.

A Massey University review of the data, recently cited as being critical of the conclusions drawn in fact concludes that the Auckland Council methodology was more robust than that employed by DOC / MPI in other forests and recommends that they work with Auckland Council to develop a more consistent and effective methodology to be applied to surveillance of other forests. It also states that the Auckland Council methodology was the best to determine the spread of the disease, which was the purpose of the surveillance monitoring.

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