Maintaining Taranaki’s native biodiversity ensures the continued survival of indigenous plants, animals and ecosystems important to all of New Zealand.
What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity, or biological diversity, describes the variety of all biological life, large and small – plants, animals, fungi and even micro-organisms.
What are the biodiversity issues in Taranaki?
- Since the arrival of people, Taranaki has lost around 60% of its forest 92% of its wetlands and more than 80% of its indigenous coastal vegetation..
- Many remaining bush or wetland areas are isolated or fragmented, and many coastal areas are significantly degraded. Ensuring ecological links between native areas is vital for biodiversity in the region.
- Draining wetlands or channelling or piping streams can cause threats to freshwater habitats. Barriers to native fish passage in streams can also reduce diversity in upper catchments.
- Pest animals and plants such as possums, stoats, rats and old man’s beard prey on or compete with native species, or degrade their habitats. Pest aquatic plants, fish or algae are also a significant threat to Taranaki’s freshwater biodiversity.
The Council tracks indigenous biodiversity on private land in the region by regularly monitoring how much remains and how healthy it is.
By comparing our results to national trends we can tell if things are improving or target action in areas that are following national trends of decline.
First adopted in 2008 and updated after a review in 2017, our Biodiversity Strategy identifies over 180 actions we take to implement our biodiversity responsibilities in the region.
Non-statutory, the Strategy outlines four key priorities for biodiversity in the region. These are:
- Key Native Ecosystems – working with landowners to make a difference in those areas that have important biodiversity values
- Enhancing biodiversity components of existing Council programmes
- Working with others to promote integrated management of indigenous biodiversity
- Gathering and managing biodiversity data – monitoring the extent and state of biodiversity on private land to enable sound management decisions and prioritisation
We offer large amount of support to landowners or to trusts for biodiversity projects on private land. For example, between 2008 and 2013, we awarded $1,857,295 in Environmental Enhancement Grants to support farmers and other landowners implementing th recommendations of Council Farm and Biodiversity Plans.
Working with others
The Council works closely with a range of groups and individuals protecting and enhancing biodiversity in the region. It was instrumental in the signing of the Taranaki Biodiversity Forum Accord in 2012, and is a core funder of the Taranaki Biodiversity Trust, the organisation behind Wild for Taranaki, which was launched in 2016
Wild for Taranaki is made up of 27 organisations and community groups working together to protect native plants, animals and ecosystems in Taranaki. It also administers the Community Biodiversity Fund available for projects that support the Trust’s regional ecological priorities.