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Urban areas as native habitat. Outline Why create native habitats in urban areas? Five principles to increase functioning native habitat & biodiversity.

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Presentation on theme: "Urban areas as native habitat. Outline Why create native habitats in urban areas? Five principles to increase functioning native habitat & biodiversity."— Presentation transcript:

1 Urban areas as native habitat

2 Outline Why create native habitats in urban areas? Five principles to increase functioning native habitat & biodiversity

3 Why create urban habitats? Scientific – biodiversity hotspots at environmental cross-roads, under-protected and vulnerable Social – create sense of place (most people live in cities and have limited ‘wild’ exposure) Available resources – people and $ It’s practical, do-able, often fits in with other uses and is more sustainable (resilient and cheaper in the medium term).

4 Why not? – we’re in NZ, it’s easy to increase natives in cities… especially mobile species

5 How are cities different? Flattened topography High weed pressures High disturbance Climate amplified People but no grazing

6 ‘Natural’ Ultic soils: old, famous Teeming humus layers and shallow, nutrient- supplying topsoils, Impoverished fertility Structurally vulnerable; clay sediment runoff Undisturbed: no surface casting fauna; low fire frequency

7 City soils Increased runoff & surface water flow: less infiltration, less storage, removal of watercourses, subsurface water flows cut Stressed plants: shallow rooting, less oxygen and water, warmer damaged soil biota, mowing & removing leaves disrupts carbon cycling (N); elevated P (anti-myc), sometimes N

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9 Five principles Tread gently – minimise impact & isolation Bigger is often better – logs, area Natives like natives - use native plants Structurally complex, tall, dense is best Plan for low maintenance & connectivity – minimise disturbance, connect water and organic cycles for resilient systems

10 2. Tread gently A. avoid, B. nurture, C. rehabilitate

11 Bigger is often better Patch size (least edge) Canopy height Coarse wood

12 Big patches – minimise edge

13 Big wood for insects.. food and hiding places

14 Big (untreated) wood for animals

15 Big wood for little plants – epiphytes, refuges, fungae

16 Big wood for erosion control

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18 Structurally complex – tall & dense Richard Toft (Chch), Robin Gardner-Gee (Motuora) Number of native beetles Unmanaged A Planted A Pasture B

19 Beetle assemblages in planted bush and unmanaged bush similar Planted bush 70 species Pasture 62 species Unmanaged bush 96 species

20 Plan for low maintenance Let sleeping logs (and leaves) lie Weed removal at ground level (+ herbicide) Natural water flows and connectivity minimise need for irrigation and drainage

21 No dense, long-lived weedmat

22 How to heal soil Loosen – let air in Avoid traffic, especially when wet Maximise plant growth and cover (avoid direct rain drop contact – erosion) Use organic mulches Connect leaves and invertebrates to humus and soil

23 Control Litter removed Topsoil removed Treatment Tree volume (% of control) 4 year-old trees 15 year-old trees Removing litter and topsoil reduces growth; soil recovers slowly

24 Plants need water & organic matter… so connect flows

25 What about exotics?

26 We have the colours

27 We have toughness

28 Principles Tread gently – minimise impact & isolation Bigger is better – logs, area Natives like natives Structurally complex is best Plan for low maintenance & connectivity (water and leaf litter)

29 Fabulous free NZ resources info/010Canterbury/005Publications/ Protecting-and-Restoring-Our-Natural-Heritage Hewitt 2004 ‘Soil Properties for plant growth’


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