ZEALANDIA goes on the regional SoE grid!
A team from Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) came to ZEALANDIA on 2 April to set one of the regional State of the Environment (SoE) monitoring plots. GWRC Terrestrial Biodiversity SoE monitoring programme aims to monitor the state of biodiversity, pressure by weeds and animal pests and effectiveness of pest management.
The field survey measures vegetation structure and composition, as well as bird communities, to assess regional distribution and local abundance of weeds and pest animals; abundance of indigenous plants susceptible to introduced herbivores; and abundance of indigenous bird guilds (herbivores, insectivores and ground dwelling) that are susceptible to introduced herbivores and carnivores.
Sites to survey for this regional monitoring are randomly selected on a 8x8km grid around the region to align with the national framework. One of these random sites fell into ZEALANDIA in a close distance to one of the existing permanent vegetation plots. It provides ZEALANDIA with a great opportunity to investigate the feasibility of converting the currently-used monitoring methodology with the national framework. This would allow us to compare forest restoration outcomes to similar forest type elsewhere in the country, as part of the five-yearly SoE monitoring of the Wellington region
The GWRC team set a 20x20m monitoring plot nested in one of ZEALANDIA’s monitoring plots. GWRC and ZEALANDIA conservation teams re-measured the plot using both methodologies to calibrate results and determine the benefit and loss from switching from one methodology to the other.
Data from vegetation monitoring in ZEALANDIA will also be stored and shared through the National Vegetation Survey (NVS) databank, a world–leading repository for New Zealand’s plot–based vegetation data. NVS is a physical archive and electronic databank already containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 21,000 permanent plots.
Joining the grid is a great opportunity for ZEALANDIA restoration efforts to be part of the bigger picture of conserving, protecting and restoring native biodiversity.