NZ launches interactive map for biodiversity restoration

Wellington, Nov 14 (Agency) A new interactive map was launched on Tuesday to restore a minimum of 15 percent local biodiversity within every catchment in New Zealand in the next nearly 100 years. The interactive map from Eco-index includes information on the type of habitat that existed there historically and targets for restoring 15 percent of biodiversity in each area. The free, open access-resourced tool will help community groups, businesses, government and land managers to set restoration priorities for areas where local biodiversity is most at risk, said Eco-index, a program aiming at tackling the challenge of biodiversity decline in New Zealand. The launch of the ecosystem restoration map provides a tool for those seeking to make strategically significant investment decisions on biodiversity redress, said Bruce Burns, associate professor of the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Auckland.

The tool identifies those areas and ecosystems that are locally impoverished, and therefore “offer the best bang for the buck in terms of actions,” Burns said. “Modelling suggests that biodiversity crisis impacts could be even more severe for human society than climate change,” he said. According to co-leaders of the Eco-Index program, Kiri Wallace of the University of Waikato and John Reid of the University of Canterbury, the interactive map applied to diverse topics, including small-scale native nursery stocking decisions to ensure representative restoration of local native ecosystems, and how to engage with international impact investors.