|dc.description.abstract||Traditionally New Zealand ecological research has focused on nature outside of cities,
however, as with global trends, there is now more interest being given to the ecological
functioning of cities and the potential they may hold for protecting native biodiversity.
Traditionally, efforts to maintain biodiversity in urban areas have been restricted to
remnants of native vegetation and restoration activities. Little attention has been given
to how native biodiversity could be woven into the urban fabric in an ecologically
meaningful way. One option, that is receiving much attention overseas, is to recruit
underutilised urban spaces such as wasteland.
A subset of urban wasteland, abandoned industrial areas usually awaiting development
and other areas such as the railway buffer, are referred to here as greyfield. These are
ephemeral sites that may sit between uses for as little as a few months to many years.
Overseas, particularly in European countries, these have been recognised as important
habitat for both native and introduced plant species. In New Zealand cities these
support primarily introduced plants and their contribution to native biodiversity has
This thesis took an interdisciplinary approach to the question of whether urban
greyfields might have potential value as biodiversity protection and conservation
opportunity. Ecological methods were combined with an assessment of the planning
framework to answer this question.
iii Greyfields in Christchurch, New Zealand were surveyed to determine their current
contribution to native biodiversity and whether they may act as urban analogues of
natural habitats. Overseas research has shown that urban features such as pavements,
walls and rooftops offer habitats analogous to cliffs and rocky habitats. Cities are
therefore increasing the habitat exploitable by species whose natural habitats are
geographically restricted. The Christchurch greyfields were assessed for their potential
to act as analogues of four habitat types that have been categorised as historically rare
in New Zealand: braided riverbeds, shingle beaches, rock outcrops and limestone
outcrops. The findings suggest that urban greyfields, if managed appropriately, have
the potential to support a wider range of native species
Planning documents and biodiversity strategies written for Christchurch were assessed
to see how well they facilitated non-traditional biodiversity enhancement initiatives,
specifically the greyfield network for native biodiversity. A major finding here was a
lack of information on how to enhance biodiversity where little of the natural features
of the landscape were left and that this was creating a barrier to adopting more
integrative approaches to enhancing native biodiversity.
Finally, a plan to create a greyfield network for native biodiversity is proposed and
suggestions are made as to minor changes to the planning framework that would more
easily facilitate the uptake of novel biodiversity enhancement initiatives in the City.||en