Indigenous biodiversity protection and sustainable management in the Upper Waimakariri Basin
Human activity, unintentional or purposeful, has an impact on biodiversity health. History, world view and experience influence human activity and behaviour toward the natural world. Despite significant commitment to nature conservation, New Zealand continues to experience biodiversity loss, especially on private land where some of the most vulnerable and under-protected ecosystems occur. Given that indigenous biodiversity protection is embedded in the principles of the Resource Management Act 1991, this research asks to what extent is indigenous biodiversity protection compatible with sustainable management, through a case study of indigenous biodiversity management on private land in the upper Waimakariri basin, in New Zealand’s South Island high country. The research examines the types of indigenous biodiversity conservation practices undertaken by private land managers, and is framed through the lens of ecological literacy and the influence of neoliberal ideology. Adoption and patterns of diffusion of practices are identified through relationships between individuals, organisations, institutions and mechanisms. The research found that indigenous biodiversity enhancement is a part of sustainable management but practices are influenced by biophysical context and location, internal factors such as the world view and experience of the land manager and the local economy and external factors such as the social network, economic drivers, government policy and the availability of additional resourcing. While legal requirements for environmental management are generally met, more insidious impacts on indigenous biodiversity are overlooked, and a lack of co-ordination between government goals creates perverse effects for biodiversity. The research found that private property rights often constrained a broader catchment view and market drivers to increase primary productivity risks further indigenous biodiversity loss. However given that the upper Waimakariri basin contains significant intact though modified tracts of indigenous flora and fauna, naturally occurring lakes and wetlands as well an informed and willing community, there may be an opportunity to trial innovative market mechanisms and alternative land uses to encourage further indigenous biodiversity protection. Conclusions from this research suggest the need to examine the potential utility of a National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity to clarify planning rules and responsibilities for biodiversity; and the opportunity to examine the potential for use of targeted economic instruments that encourage private landowners to preserve and protect remaining indigenous biodiversity. On doing this New Zealand may be more likely to reduce indigenous biodiversity loss as well as meet its international obligation, while sustaining its international reputation.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsindigenous; indigenous biodiversity; conservation; enhancement; protection; high country; sustainability; Resource Management Act 1991; biodiversity; biodiversity protection; biodiversity conservation
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