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Saving our species and ecosystems

For good reason Courageous Conservation is the theme for this year’s Forest and Bird conference at Te Papa from June 29-30.

New Zealand is losing species and ecosystems faster than nearly any other country, says CE Kevin Hague.

After the controversial Environment Aotearoa 2019 report, NZ needs a transformative plan for nature.

“This damning report should stand as a call to action. The country must take bold action to reverse an environmental crisis.”

New Zealand has spent too many years in denial about actions from rampant dairy conversions to destructive seabed trawling, which are irreversibly harming the natural world.

“We need an economy that nurtures and restores our environment, not one that trashes it.”

DoC chief science adviser Ken Hughey says in the latest Forest and Bird magazine that the report “confirms the precarious state of much of New Zealand’s biodiversity”.

“Rivers, lakes and groundwater in pastoral areas have greatly elevated levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, fine sediment and faecal bacteria, compared to levels in native-forest areas,” says NIWA chief scientist freshwater Dr Scott Larned in the same article. “Many urban streams are also degraded, including being contaminated with heavy metals.”

“While we know that monitoring needs more funding, the fact is we know enough to take action,” says Kevin.

“As a nation we need to make a bold plan to protect and restore nature now.”

The situation is dire. But he says there’s plenty of potential to “change he trajectory in the years ahead”.

“We must transform the way we live in our environment and we need to stop supporting industries that undermine this change.”

No doubt this will receive full debate at Forest and Bird’s annual conference.

One million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, more than ever before in history, says a landmark report, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

The rate of species extinctions is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, it warns.

Only four pairs of yellow-eyed penguins attempted nesting at Te Rere penguin reserve, Catlins, this past season. In fact, they are simply starving according to Forest and Bird which wants new marine protecting areas in Foveaux Strait. It says there are none at all off the coast of South Otago.

Radio tracking research at Forest and Bird has shed new light on the foraging habits of the critically endangered yellow-eyed penguins. It shows that one ‘super chick’ swam 100km in one day to find food.

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