Natural Habitat Toolkit
Natural habitat proofing your land for a brighter future
Looking after our natural habitat helps to protect biodiversity which provides habitat and food for birds and other native animals. It also provides recreational and tourism opportunities for us.
Help is at hand
This toolkit is for anyone who owns a farm, orchard or land surrounding Tauranga Harbour. We hope you will find the information useful for looking after the natural habitat on your land. Please contact a Tauranga Land Management Officer for free advice.
What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity, short for biological diversity, is the term used to describe the variety of life found on Earth and all of the natural processes. It's about the number and variety of living things like animals, fish, plants, insects and micro-organisms found living within a particular area. It's also about the complex relationship between them.
Looking after natural habitat areas on your land, the bush and wetland, can help protect local biodiversity, maintain soil and water quality and protect some threatened and rare animal and birdlife in and around Tauranga Harbour.
Benefits of protecting our regions biodiversity
- Biodiversity benefits natural processes that protect our planet.
- Biodiversity regulates our climate, creates and maintains soils and prevents soil erosion.
- Our biodiversity helps purify water and regulate flood events.
- It provides raw materials and resources for food, clothing and medicines.
- Income is obtained through valuable compounds like Manuka oil and honey.
- Provides habitat for native birds and other animals.
- Provides for a mountain to the sea corridor.
- Nutrient cycling and pollination occurs.
- Biodiversity enhances our quality of life by adding variety to our surroundings.
- It provides recreational and tourism opportunities.
Biodiversity status in the bay of plenty
The Western Bay of Plenty has rich native forest and natural animal life. The Kaimai Ranges are covered with about 70 percent original native vegetation. But, in the lowland areas and along the estuaries and coast, native birds and animals have few places left to call home. This is a serious problem, and a problem we all face.
We have identified areas with high biodiversity valueson private land across the Western Bay of Plenty. These are the largest and best quality of remaining examples of particular biodiversity types. But we can't get to every square inch. There are some bush remnants that are of great significance but haven't been identified to us as being of outstanding value. If you think your land could have native biodiversity significance, we are keen to help you enhance it. Give us a call if you're interested.
How a biodiversity management plan works for you
Plan for these
- Together with our specialist land management staff, the ecological objectives for your land are determined.
- Collaborating on a management plan with us.
- Excluding stock from the special area/feature on your land - possibly with fencing.
- Having a pest and weed control programme developed and implemented.
- Restoring an area with enhancement planting.
- Carrying out the management and maintenance work agreed to.
- Becoming aware of the different covenant options available to you.
Make use of these
- Financial assistance may be available - up to 75 percent of the total cost.
- Opportunities to talk with our specialist staff.
- Technical support and assistance available from Bay of Plenty Regional Council to help you carry out the work.
- Maintaining ownership of the process.
- Keeping all ownership and access rights.
- Free ecological and archaeological information about your site from our land management staff.
- Aerial photographs and maps of your site available from us.
- Free ongoing monitoring of protection work and biodiversity outcomes by our Land Management Officers.
Pest and weed control
Supporting habitat management
If you don't have livestock, or livestock are not grazing an area, weed species can establish. This is particularly so if ground cover is sparse. However, when areas of your land are fenced for environmental protection purposes, vegetation has an important role to play. Well-vegetated protected areas help suppress brush weeds and enhance natural habitat, while contributing to our local landscape.Pests and animals like rabbits, possums, rats, mustelids and goats are often the main cause of plant damage. Invasive weeds can also establish. They should be controlled. A Biodiversity Management or Riparian Protection Plan looks at the strategic and systematic control of animal and plant pests.
Choosing the best plants
Plan for these
- Before starting any planting, identify the pests in your area and start a pest management programme. We can help you with this.
- Control invasive brush weeds before planting.
- Retire all of your stock to allow new plantings to establish or natural regeneration of vegetation.
- Build reliable fencing to keep livestock away.
- Choose native shrub and tree species that grow fast and are low maintenance. They also help suppress exotic weed species.
- Plant native plants - an obvious choice for restoring natural landscape character.
- Use leguminous tree and shrub species.
Make use of these
- Talk to our staff about selecting the best plants for your land.
- You may qualify for a grant towards pest control within our Biodiversity and Riparian Management Plans.
- Seek advice from us about controlling problem weeds.
- Planting deciduous species that are not effective at suppressing weeds.
- Planting native trees into any site where the control of climbing pest plants has not been effective. Weeds such as Bindweed, Blackberry, Japanese Honeysuckle, Old Mans Beard and Jasmine can quickly overcome new plantings.
Join or start a care group
If you would like to make a significant difference to your local landscape join a Care Group or start one yourself. Care Groups are organised community groups, who work to protect and enhance a local area of environmental importance. The focus can be streams or waterways, estuaries, biodiversity areas or pest control. Care groups can be on private and/or public land. If a group has sound environmental objectives and commitment, the Regional Council will register it as a Care Group. This gives the group access to resources and support, which may include helping the group get started, project planning and management, technical advice, materials, helping with fliers and communications, and borrowing equipment. The Regional Council also supports hapu and iwi with plans relating to environmental issues. You can apply at any time.
Thinking about running a care group
Plan for these
- Come up with a suitable name for your group.
- Provide an overall objective for the group.
- Define your project(s).
- Think about what your most important activities will be.
- Decide who is the main contact (usually a group has a leader and also project leaders).
- Define the location or area for the project work.
- Obtain agreement from the landowners.
- Think about resources like people and skills for the project(s).
- Develop a relationship or partnership with the Regional Council.
- When you apply for support, present your agreed goals, needs and timeline clearly.
Make use of these
- Land Management Officers - right from the beginning.
- Our staff can help facilitate the process and help your group make decisions.
- Use our care group manual to help guide you.
- Understand some activities may need to be undertaken by qualified contractors like chainsaw or excavator work.
- Funding may be available to your Care Group.
- Don't start the process on your own - we can help you from the beginning, saving you time and effort.