An evaluation of the conservation of New Zealand's threatened biodiversity : management, species recovery and legislation : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand

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It is only recently that New Zealand wildlife managers have become aware of both the taxonomic range of New Zealand’ indigenous biodiversity and the number of species threatened with extinction. The entire New Zealand archipelago has been described as a biodiversity hotspot; a term with both negative and positive connotations as although its biodiversity is unique and diverse, it has lost three quarters of its primary vegetation and much of its remaining endemic biota is in decline. This thesis evaluated aspects of New Zealand’s approach to the management of biodiversity with an emphasis on methods used in the recovery of threatened species. Possible solutions are presented that New Zealand could investigate to improve the delivery of species recovery. A survey was conducted amongst Department of Conservation (DOC) staff to investigate management tools available to them. Results suggest that inadequate resources, staff shortages and an overwhelming workload have resulted in a failure to achieve comprehensive recovery of threatened species. A review of New Zealand wildlife conservation legislation and a comparison with the USA Endangered Species Act 1973 and Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, suggests that a lack of dedicated threatened species legislation is hindering the effective recovery of New Zealand’s threatened species. The thesis concludes that New Zealand has the advantage of a large conservation estate but lacks an integrated national management approach to the conservation of its biodiversity. Considerable improvement of the management and recovery of threatened species can be achieved with the enacting of dedicated threatened species legislation. Keywords: Threatened species, biodiversity, biodiversity hotspot, conservation, management, recovery plans, recovery groups, Department of Conservation, legislation, threat classification system, listing, ecological function, ecosystem services, staff survey, New Zealand
Content removed from thesis due to copyright restrictions: Seabrook-Davison, M. N. H., Weihong, J. J. & Brunton, D. H. (2010). "Survey of New Zealand Department of Conservation staff involved in the management and recovery of threatened species." Biological Conservation, 143: 212-219. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.10.005. Seabrook-Davison, M. N. H., Ji, W. & Brunton, D. H. (in press). "New Zealand lacks comprehensive threatened species legislation -- comparison with legislation in Australia and the USA." Pacific Conservation Biology, 16.
Conservation, Biodiversity hotspot, Threatened species, Management recovery plans, New Zealand Department of Conservation, Ecological function, Ecosystem services, Staff survey