Wildland Consultants Ltd

Rotorua, New Zealand

Wildland Consultants Ltd

Rotorua, New Zealand
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Pawson S.M.,New Zealand Forest Research Institute | Ecroyd C.E.,New Zealand Forest Research Institute | Seaton R.,Golder Associates | Shaw W.B.,Wildland Consultants Ltd | Brockerhoff E.G.,New Zealand Forest Research Institute
New Zealand Journal of Ecology | Year: 2010

The contribution of exotic plantation forests to the conservation of New Zealand's flora and fauna is a somewhat controversial issue, partly because the establishment of some plantations involved the conversion of indigenous vegetation. Such conversion no longer occurs within the professional forest industry and there is a growing appreciation of the contribution of 'production' land, including plantation forests, to the protection of New Zealand's unique indigenous biodiversity. This paper provides a comprehensive synthesis of information currently available on threatened species known to occur in New Zealand's plantation forests. Based on an evaluation of the published literature, unpublished reports, national threatened species databases, and personal observations we have compiled records of 118 species classified by the Department of Conservation as threatened that occur in plantations. Of these species, 16 are classified as 'Nationally Critical', 17 'Nationally Endangered' and 17 'Nationally Vulnerable', while the majority are classified as either in 'Gradual Decline', 'Sparse' or 'Range Restricted'. We highlight the direct and indirect benefits of plantations to various threatened taxa and draw attention to the missed conservation opportunities that are generated by a lack of understanding and the somewhat 'puritanical' views of New Zealand's mainstream conservation paradigm. We also discuss some of the potential negative consequences of plantations such as their potential function as 'population sinks' and 'ecological traps'. We conclude with a discussion of future research opportunities that aim to improve the conservation value of plantation forests. © New Zealand Ecological Society.

Randall L.A.,Center for Conservation and Research | Smith D.H.V.,Center for Conservation and Research | Smith D.H.V.,Wildland Consultants Ltd. | Jones B.L.,Center for Conservation and Research | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

A detailed understanding of the population dynamics of many amphibian species is lacking despite concerns about declining amphibian biodiversity and abundance. This paper explores temporal patterns of occupancy and underlying extinction and colonization dynamics in a regionally imperiled amphibian species, the Northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) in Alberta. Our study contributes to elucidating regional occupancy dynamics at northern latitudes, where climate extremes likely have a profound effect on seasonal occupancy. The primary advantage of our study is its wide geographic scale (60,000 km2) and the use of repeat visual surveys each spring and summer from 2009-2013. We find that occupancy varied more dramatically between seasons than years, with low spring and higher summer occupancy. Between spring and summer, colonization was high and extinction low; inversely, colonization was low and extinction high over the winter. The dynamics of extinction and colonization are complex, making conservation management challenging. Our results reveal that Northern leopard frog occupancy was constant over the last five years and thus there is no evidence of decline or recovery within our study area. Changes to equilibrium occupancy are most sensitive to increasing colonization in the spring or declining extinction in the summer. Therefore, conservation and management efforts should target actions that are likely to increase spring colonization; this could be achieved through translocations or improving the quality or access to breeding habitat. Because summer occupancy is already high, it may be difficult to improve further. Nevertheless, summer extinction could be reduced by predator control, increasing water quality or hydroperiod of wetlands, or increasing the quality or quantity of summer habitat. © 2015 Randall et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Smith D.H.V.,Center for Conservation Research | Smith D.H.V.,Wildland Consultants Ltd | Jones B.,Center for Conservation Research | Randall L.,Center for Conservation Research | Prescott D.R.C.,Environment Canada
Herpetological Conservation and Biology | Year: 2014

Amphibians are declining and require improved monitoring to overcome data deficiency and to improve population estimation. To improve monitoring of two anurans in the prairie province of Alberta, Canada, we conducted repeat daytime surveys at 68 aquatic sites across 90,000 km2. We used single- and multi-season occupancy models to evaluate covariates of detection probability (p) for Northern Leopard Frogs (Lithobates pipiens) and Boreal Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris maculata). Single surveys did not perform well in any season for either species. The principal method for detecting Northern Leopard Frogs was visual sightings in summer; Boreal Chorus Frogs were best detected by their breeding calls in spring. Northern Leopard Frog’s p correlated with temperature (+) and wind (−) and was highest in summer. Boreal Chorus Frog probability of detection correlated with temperature (+), observer (−), and visual obstruction (−), and was highest in spring. Therefore, daytime surveys will be more effective for Northern Leopard Frogs in summer and for Boreal Chorus Frogs in spring. Whereas multi-species surveys often yield important information on amphibians, our study suggests species-specific surveys that quantify and maximize detection probability can improve the collection of data for conservation of threatened species. © 2014. Des Smith. All Rights Reserved.

King C.,University of Waikato | Alexander A.,University of Kansas | Alexander A.,Oregon State University | Chubb T.,University of Waikato | And 8 more authors.
Biological Invasions | Year: 2016

We mapped the distribution and diversity of mitochondrial D-loop haplotypes among 502 New Zealand house mice (Mus musculus). By widespread sampling from 74 sites, we identified 14 new haplotypes. We used Bayesian phylogenetic reconstructions to estimate the genetic relationships between the New Zealand representatives of Mus musculus domesticus (all six known clades) and M. m. castaneus (clade HG2), and mice from other locales. We defined four distinct geographic regions of New Zealand with differing haplotype diversity indices. Our Results suggest (a) two independent pre-1840 invasions by mice of different origin (domesticus clade E and castaneus clade HG2) at opposite ends of the country; (b) multiple later invasions by domesticus clades E and F accompanying the post-1840 development of New Zealand port facilities in the central regions, plus limited local incursions by domesticus clades A, B, C and D1; (c) a separate invasion of Chatham I. by castaneus clade HG2; (d) previously undescribed New Zealand haplotypes, potentially the products of localised indigenous mutation, and (e) hybridisation between different lineages. © 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

Renner M.A.M.,Herbarium | Beadel S.M.,Wildland Consultants Ltd.
New Zealand Journal of Botany | Year: 2011

Taeniophyllum norfolkianum is recorded for New Zealand from the Waipu Ecological District in Northland. Plants were found on twigs and branches of gorse in retired pasture reverting to indigenous forest. New Zealand plants share with Norfolk Island plants the tri-lobed labellum with prominent apical spine, but differ in their larger, bright yellow flowers, conspicuously papillate penduncle and rachis and smaller plant size. Taeniophyllum norfolkianum brings the number of epiphytic orchid species indigenous to New Zealand to nine. © 2011 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

Myers S.C.,Wildland Consultants Ltd | Clarkson B.R.,Landcare Research | Reeves P.N.,Wildland Consultants Ltd | Clarkson B.D.,University of Waikato
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2013

As a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity and to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, New Zealand has international responsibilities to protect and restore wetland ecosystems. The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy also reflects New Zealand's commitment to help stem the loss of biodiversity worldwide, including wetlands. Wetland loss in New Zealand has been more significant than in most parts of the world, and ecosystems in fertile lowlands have been most severely impacted by agricultural development. Wetlands provide important ecosystem services filtering nutrients and controlling floodwaters but they are under continued pressure from agricultural land use, including drainage, grazing, nutrient runoff, and the impacts of pest animals and plants. Legislation in New Zealand identifies the protection of wetlands as a matter of national importance, and the protection of wetlands on private land has been identified as a national priority for action. While most of the larger nationally and internationally significant wetlands in New Zealand are in public ownership, the vast majority of smaller wetlands, which contribute to the full diversity of lowland ecosystems in New Zealand, are on private land in agricultural landscapes. Regional and district councils have responsibilities to implement legislation and develop policies and regulations to protect wetlands and prevent their damage and degradation. Most use a mix of regulatory mechanisms and voluntary incentives to encourage protection and restoration of wetlands. The strength of regulation for wetland protection varies across the country, with stronger more restrictive rules in more populated regions and where loss in extent has been more significant. While all regional plans have some form of rule restricting damaging activities in wetlands, less than half have strong regulations where drainage is non-compliant, and monitoring is sparse. The majority of plans (60%) restrict damaging activities only in wetlands that are in a schedule or meet criteria for ecological significance; rules in most plans do not protect smaller, often degraded wetlands. Although wetland loss and degradation still occurs in many regions, national and regional rates of loss are not reported. A response requires strong national policies on preventing further loss, the implementation of regulations in regional and district plans, and monitoring of the effectiveness of policies, rules, and non-statutory mechanisms. A combination of bottom lines for statutory regulation, voluntary incentives including support for fencing, and effective practical management is required. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Goldwater N.,Wildland Consultants Ltd. | Perry G.L.W.,University of Auckland | Clout M.N.,University of Auckland
Austral Ecology | Year: 2012

Efforts to eradicate multiple mammal pests from offshore islands and fenced mainland 'habitat islands' often fail to remove mice, and such failures can result in a dramatic change in the food-web whereby the removal of larger mammal pests facilitates a population explosion of mice through predator and competitor release. We investigated the ecological responses of house mice to the removal of mammalian predators from a 500-ha fenced sanctuary at Tawharanui, northern New Zealand. Data on population structure and body condition of mice trapped in 2007, in four habitat types within the sanctuary, were compared with baseline data collected in 2001, before mammal control operations commenced. We hypothesized that: (i) in the absence of mammalian predators mouse densities would increase in all habitat types that provide vegetation cover, and (ii) in the absence of mammalian competitors mice would become heavier due to greater access to food resources. Mouse densities were significantly higher in 2007 than in 2001 in three habitat types. The high density of mice in forest - where none were trapped prior to control - suggests a competitive release, in which mice profited from the removal of ship rats. No mice were caught in the presence of ship rats on a forest trap-line at a control site outside the sanctuary. Mice trapped in 2007 were significantly heavier than those trapped in 2001, and significantly heavier than mice trapped at the control site. Greater access to food in the absence of competing and predatory mammals probably explains the heavier body weight of Tawharanui mice. There has been a significant change in the mammalian food-web at Tawharanui, such that the house mouse is now the primary pest. A rapid and dramatic increase in mouse numbers is likely to adversely impact invertebrates and seedling recruitment, which in turn could affect ecosystem functions. © 2012 The Authors. Austral Ecology © 2012 Ecological Society of Australia.

Borkin K.M.,University of Auckland | Parsons S.,University of Auckland | Parsons S.,Wildland Consultants Ltd
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

We investigated effects of roost loss due to clear-fell harvest on bat home range. The study took place in plantation forest, inhabited by the New Zealand long-tailed bat (Chalinolobus tuberculatus ), in which trees are harvested between the ages 26-32 years. We determined home ranges by radiotracking different bats in areas that had and had not been recently clear-fell harvested. Home ranges were smaller in areas that had been harvested. Adult male bats selected 20-25 year old stands within home ranges before and after harvest. Males selected edges with open unplanted areas when harvest had not occurred but no longer selected these at proportions greater than their availability post harvest, probably because they were then readily available. This is the first radiotracking study to demonstrate a change in home range size and selection concomitant with felling of large areas of plantation forest, and thus quantify negative effects of forestry operations on this speciose group. The use of smaller home ranges post-harvest may reflect smaller colony sizes and lower roost availability, both of which may increase isolation of colonies and vulnerability to local extinction. © 2014 Borkin, Parsons.

Smith D.,Wildland Consultants Ltd | Bycroft C.,Wildland Consultants Ltd | McClellan R.,Wildland Consultants Ltd | Gillies R.,Wildland Consultants Ltd | Shaw W.,Wildland Consultants Ltd
Notornis | Year: 2015

Cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Rotoiti have been linked to nutrient flows from Lake Rotorua via the Ohau Channel. To mitigate this, a diversion wall was constructed in 2008 that was designed to redirect water entering Lake Rotoiti from Lake Rotorua into the Kaituna River. One concern was whether the presence of the diversion wall might have adverse impacts on the abundance of birds using the lake. Monthly bird counts were undertaken at 8 sites in Lake Rotoiti, over 8 years, and which spanned the period before, during and after construction of the wall. Generalised linear mixed effect models and AIC were used to investigate any effects of the wall on 6 bird species. There was no apparent impact of the wall on 5 of the species. The sixth species, little black shag (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos), was more abundant in sites surrounding the wall post-construction, and appeared to be using the wall for roosting and to hunt for smelt. © The Ornithological Society of New Zealand Inc.

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