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Biodiversity should be a priority for Aucklanders

Protecting biodiversity should be a priority for Aucklanders

6 November 2009

We are losing biodiversity (the variety of plant and animal life that exists) at such a fast rate, that each and every Aucklander needs to get on board to tackle the problem, says Stephen Granger, a leading international expert on urban biodiversity.

As a director of international environment group, Local Action Biodiversity (LAB), Mr Granger is in Auckland to discuss how cities and towns can work to become centres of biodiversity. His talk is being organised jointly by the Auckland Regional Council and North Shore City Council.

Mr Granger has plenty of hands-on experience protecting urban biodiversity as Cape Town’s Parks Manager. He will be describing progress and successes of the LAB’s international effort to date, what still needs to be done and how we can contribute to the goals. “The collective effort to protect and restore biodiversity is within reach for city dwellers – the majority of the world’s population,” he says.

“New Zealand’s own biodiversity is certainly something to get excited about. With a large number of endemic species and ecosystems found no where else in the world, this country has been identified internationally as a biodiversity hotspot.”

The Auckland region contains native ecosystems and habitats such as kauri and coastal forests, estuarine ecosystems, wetlands, dune lands and unique lava forests such as Rangitoto Island. The region also contains 20 per cent of the country’s threatened land animals (including bats, birds, reptiles and frogs) and has 326 plants classified as threatened.

Regional restoration programmes on the mainland and on off-shore islands are contributing to biodiversity recovery; however, the continuing loss of habitats, decline of threatened species and impact of invasive species require ongoing effort.

Stephen Granger will be speaking in North Shore City Council’s Chamber at 1, The Strand in Takapuna on Thursday 12 November, from 2pm to 3pm. To attend this event, please email marie.brown@northshorecity.govt.nz by next Wednesday, 11 November.

Mr Granger’s visit is timely; not only is 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity, but the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network, has this week released the Red List of Threatened Species™ update. It shows that 17,291 species out of the 47,677 assessed species are threatened with extinction, including 21 percent of all known mammals, 37 percent of freshwater fishes and 70 percent of plants. According to the IUCN, this is evidence of a mounting extinction crisis.


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