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Designing & Planning Sustainable Habitat Configurations in New Zealand’s Cultural Landscapes Colin Meurk & Graeme Hall

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Presentation on theme: "Designing & Planning Sustainable Habitat Configurations in New Zealand’s Cultural Landscapes Colin Meurk & Graeme Hall"— Presentation transcript:

1 Designing & Planning Sustainable Habitat Configurations in New Zealand’s Cultural Landscapes Colin Meurk & Graeme Hall

2 NZ landscape at a crossroads – which way the countryside? Similar development of cultural landscape to England … But 5000 years crammed into <1000! … & No equivalent latterday integration of nature, culture & production in NZ – or not yet! We may carry on along the present trajectory … or redirect landscape evolution towards preserving NZ’s special identity thru biodiversity & natural character

3 Worse than europe because … Shade-tolerant invaders take over … Little native regen. after pressure removed Small native herbs swamped by exotic grass Seedbanks dominated by exotic spp.

4 Sustainable Management & Use Sustainable Management & Use of natural resources Identification Identification with regional biodiversity & landscape Protectiveness Protectiveness towards natural values Visibility Visibility of nature Learning Learning from natural processes Enculturation Enculturation of natural values Quality of Life Quality of Life definition Familiarity Familiarity with nature Landscape & Ecological Sustainability & Integrity Feedback System Human memory banks dominated by exotics

5 Love it or Lose it! Habitat loss accelerated Post-RMA – nonsense! Insulting - community restoration efforts overwhelmed by govt & corporate destruction Diversionary tactics – huge numbers of strategies, policies & rules gathering dust! Is it to be a Knowledge Economy or a Dark Ages of trivia, waste, sterility, lost identity, life denial?

6 If Serious … Need to know … What is likely to happen? What innovative intervention is possible/necessary to achieve goals of natural character in the NZ landscape? No longer are we divorced from our role as ‘intelligent’ conductors of landscape form & direction If we don’t provide leadership then someone else will prescribe our landscape & culture for us! In this presentation we provide some positive options & guidelines for overcoming the gloomy prognosis for NZ’s biodiversity & landscapes

7 Start with Forest succession model adapted from US Linkages (Pastor & Post 1985) Reformulated & generalised as LINKNZ (Hall & Hollinger 2000) Empirically based & tested models (Fiordland, SE NZ pollen, Lake Thompson, Pisa Range, NZ Biomes) Operates on autecological, physiological & growth properties of trees in relation to climate & soil conditions of a site


9 Bringing in the Spatial Component Successful Propagule Dispersal

10 Linking succession & dispersal

11 Composite scenarios In fullness of time – distance makes little difference … Provided there are receptive habitats & … Pest control … Kauri or podocarps come to dominate in lowlands – regardless of starting line up (native or exotic). In contrast, the montane zone, where native beech forests predominate, is in trouble from exotic shade-tolerant invaders

12 Native Plant Colonisation of Receptive Habitats in Cultural Landscapes

13 Applying models to green space planning Link with island biogeographic approach to reserve design Bigger is always better, but … In constrained environments (urban & rural).. Have to make compromises … In general, large iconic bush birds – kiwi, kokako - need remnants >> 6 ha But, most NZ wildlife is either small (1-6 ha adequate for viable populations) or vagile, so can … Use stepping stones in a patchy landscape

14 Combining reserve design, dispersal data, stepping stones & visibility/accessibility 6.25, 1.6 & 0.01 ha forest patches with 50 m buffer have … 2.25, 0.06 & 0.0 ha core respectively These should be maximally 5, 2 & 0.02 km apart from patches of their own or larger size Such an optimum configuration for forest patches in a cultural landscape – allows … Propagule saturation across whole landscape Bird habitat virtual continuity Gene flow between plant & animal populations

15 Optimising Patch Shape – Linear forest patch 625 m 100 m 50 m buffer zone core area = zero hatotal area = 6.25 ha 25 m 125 m Total area 1.56 ha Core 0.06 ha Neighbourhood Habitat Patch Street/playground Noble Tree Grove District/Suburb Core Sanctuary 10 m 0.01 ha 250 m 150 m 250 m 150 m core 2.25 ha Total area 6.25 ha Buffer zone skin

16 1/6 of 6.25 ha patch Optimal Forest Patch Pattern & Percentage Patch Area Calculation 60° 5 km 4.33 km 6.25 ha 5 km 1.56 ha Urban matrix 0.01 ha 0.2 km 1 km Percentage Patch Area Calculation Thus 3/6 of patch size in whole triangular area for 6.25 ha at 5 km spacings – Area=½ x 5 x 4.33 km2 x 100 ha =1082.5 ha % area occupied by large patches =6.25 x 3/6 x 100% 1082.5 =0.29% Total patch area = ca. 4.4%

17 Integrating People Nature & Landscape Clusters of big trees every 200 m Frequent dispersal 1 ha reserve every km; 5 minutes walk from every home 4-10 ha reserve every 5 km; 30 minutes walk/ 10 minutes cycling from every home 100 m 2.5 km 10 mins cycling Observed max. dispersal 1 km 500 m 5-10 min walk

18 The real world of green space planning in SW Christchurch

19 Opportunities … Plight of NZ biota & Biodiversity Strategy cries out for drastic measures – at a broad landscape level Positive signs in spontaneous regen. of some native elements Can manipulate & redirect this dynamic – so long as we stop throwing around time bombs (weeds) Models test novel ideas about where the biosecurity threats lie in the long term …& how to … transform exotic plantations into native production systems (for utility & biodiversity)

20 Exotic to Podocarp Plantation - Auckland



23 Biodiverse Landscapes Are Us! The following visualisations are backed by the data & models presented here We have to be very patient tho … may take centuries to restore the landscape - equivalent to the idyll of the english countryside But if we don’t start now (by preserving the primary habitats or building blocks) the potential will be lost & the goal will be out of reach.


25 Contemporary Dysfunctional Rural Landscape

26 Prospective Integrated Functional Landscape

27 retirement fence exotic plantation drain winter wet paddock Moraine with wilding birch, briar, etc lake protected natural area Contemporary utilitarian high country landscape remnant native veg in far distance

28 Biodiverse high country futures Moraine with native shrubs & woodland remnant native veg, regenerating retirement fence boundary obscured exotic plantation surrounded by nz trees Stream with riparian vegetation wetland lake highway protected natural area native hedgerows shelter belt with native border of shrubs Homestead (opportunity for native rockeries) beech short tussock grazed matagouri woodland hay bales behind native hedgerows

29 Urban Bio-sterility?

30 Traditional urban conservation of remnants or islands

31 The Native Bush Garden

32 ‘Gardening’ for vulnerable herbaceous biodiversity & wildlife

33 Recommendations – simple really No more rotations of Douglas fir in high country (estimate 200-250 years for saturation of entire montane beech forest biome) Research & implement use of sterile pines or hybrids (e.g. Leyland cypress) for forestry Promote new indigenous forestry by planting & manipulating succession Get serious about weed control Promote/facilitate native regeneration in range of semi- production & border habitats (hedgerows, woodlots, road verges, riparian zones, homestead woods) Restore habitats – as last resort after protection of primary habitat & land surfaces Integrate biodiversity into urban habitats Work at landscape/visible level (visibility is key to nature sustainability) Generate scenarios as goals - incorporating traditional structural elements & indigenous composition

34 Visibility is a key to sustainability – don’t subjugate the Kiwi Identity to …

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