This indicator provides information that describes on-site (or in situ) and off-site (or ex situ) efforts to conserve species diversity. Some forest species and habitats may have declined to such an extent that intervention is required to safeguard them for the future.
New technologies for reducing and eradicating mammalian pests and preventing their reinvasion of sensitive habitats are creating opportunities to reintroduce endangered fauna and flora to areas they formerly occupied. “Mainland Islands” are being created using intensive, multi-pest control to reduce pest mammal populations, and detailed biodiversity monitoring is undertaken to assess the extent to which ecological restoration goals are being achieved.
Fenced sanctuaries that exclude all pest mammals are encouraging community-led forest restoration projects. Together with the expansion in the numbers of near-shore, pest-free island sanctuaries, they are allowing an increasing number of people to see and interact with rare and endangered flora and fauna.
The Department of Conservation pioneered the concept of “Mainland Islands” in the mid-1990s. Six sites were established, covering 11 500 hectares of largely forested land, with a further 8000 hectares monitored as reference areas. While a range of ecological criteria was used to select the sites, the greatest weighting was given to the potential to recover threatened species.
At each site, intensive, multi-pest control is used to drastically reduce numbers of pest mammals. Detailed biodiversity monitoring is undertaken to assess the extent to which ecological restoration goals are being achieved. A recent audit of the programme concluded that pest mammal control at Mainland Island sites has been reasonably successful, and that as a result some native bird and plant species have done very well. Some of the bird translocations have created new viable populations. Similar, local initiatives are now found in many parts of New Zealand.