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Two men on a BOP farm Two men on a BOP farm


Biodiversity is the many different kinds of living things (plants, animals, insects, micro-organisms) here on Earth or in a specific place or ecosystem.

Biodiversity is also used to talk about the number and variety of, and the complex relationships between all living things. It can refer to the differences between individual species, or the differences between a species and an ecosystem.

High biodiversity is important because it makes ecosystems more resilient and adaptable to changes, such as climate change or natural disasters.

Why should we conserve biodiversity?

Biodiversity plays a key role in our everyday lives, providing us with many ‘services’, such as water purification and regulation, creating and maintaining soils, nutrient cycling, pollination, valuable compounds (e.g. manuka oil), regulation of local climates and prevention of soil erosion. In addition, it also sustains life for our fauna, providing a source of food and a home for many of our vulnerable species.

Here in New Zealand, our biodiversity is incredibly unique, due to our isolation. The large number of endemic species (those found naturally nowhere else in the world) makes this biodiversity both special and highly vulnerable. Our biodiversity contributes to our national identity and is of immense value to Māori.

New Zealand's native biodiversity is in serious decline. Although New Zealand was one of the last places on earth to be settled by humans, it has one of the worst records of native biodiversity loss. Fire, land clearance, overexploitation of resources and introduced species have had a negative effect on native biodiversity. As a result, dozens of species have become extinct, and an increasing number are now threatened with extinction.

We have an obligation to protect it for ourselves and future generations.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council works with landowners and community groups to help protect and restore our biodiversity within the region. If you are interested in getting involved in this mahi, you can get in touch with a Land Management Officer or find out more about the care groups working in your area.

The Bay of Plenty contains a diverse range of ecosystems and species. Of these, there are a number that are unique to the Bay of Plenty, so it is vital that we take steps to ensure their survival.


Currently, the region still has about 66 percent of its original indigenous forest and scrub cover overall, but coastal and lowland forest types, and other ecosystems do not fare as well. Very little remains of our podocarp dominant forest (such as kahikatea and totara forest), dune forest, and frost flat ecosystems, and the region retains only ~ 280ha of geothermal ecosystems.

While only about 10 percent of our wetlands remain, and 18 percent of our sand dunes (much of these are heavily infested with exotic species), these ecosystems remain incredibly important for our fauna and flora.

Frost flats are a unique ecosystem found only in the Hawke’s Bay, Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. They occur in places with extremely low nutrient pumice soils where frosts can occur in any month of the year (areas where cold air ponds due to local topography). Frost flats have been assessed as Critically Endangered – only 8 percent of New Zealand’s original frost flats remain and 77 percent of these occur in the Bay of Plenty.

The Bay of Plenty has 26 percent of the geothermal vegetation in the Taupō Volcanic Zone (Waikato has the other 74 percent), which is almost all of New Zealand’s geothermal vegetation. There are four types of geothermal ecosystems have been ranked Critically Endangered at a national level. Geothermal ecosystems are home to unique and threatened species such as the prostrate kanuka (Kunzea tenuicaulis). Learn more about geothermal in the region.


The Bay of Plenty has its own variety of kanuka at Thornton (Kunzea toelkenii), the Pott’s forget-me-not (Myosotis pottsiana), the only known mainland populations (two) of the native broom Carmichaelia williamsii, and the vast majority of the country's monoao dominated frost flats on the central plateau. Several species reach their natural geographic limits within our region.

One of the most threatened fauna species in our region is the matuku-hūrepo/Australasian bittern. This elusive wetland bird is ranked as Nationally Critical. Its population has been reduced to less than 1000 birds nationwide because of habitat loss, predation by introduced species and disturbance. The most important areas for matuku-hūrepo in the region are Matakana Island, Kaituna/Little Waihi Estuary near Maketu, and on the Rangitāiki Plains near Matata.

water with fish and birds

Use our interactive map to check where our Priority Biodiversity Sites are.

Find Priority Biodiversity Sites

people planting

We have a team of Land Management Officers who can provide you advice specific to our catchment.

Find your local LMO

Protection and restoration of PBSs

Supporting landowners and care groups to protect and restore PBSs is an important part of our work. Careful management is required to ensure these sites are healthy and continue to provide suitable habitat for native plants and animal communities.

Without active management, PBSs can be degraded by threats such as:
•    pest plants that take over and outcompete native vegetation
•    pest animals that damage vegetation and eat native wildlife (e.g. deer, stoats, possums and rats).
•    livestock that trample and damage vegetation
•    loss of habitat through clearance of vegetation and drainage of wetlands.

Our Land Management Officers provide technical and financial support to empower and enable landowners and care groups to restore and protect biodiversity in their own backyards.

If you are interested in protecting and enhancing a PBS on your property, Regional Council can offer support. As well as free site assessments, advice and support, we offer grants for biodiversity management at a PBS through funding agreements/management plans called 'Environmental Programmes’.

Regional Council may also provide support you are interested in forming a group to protect and enhance a PBS within DOC or council administered reserve. We support care groups through Environmental Programmes and Care Group Agreements.

What is an Environmental Programme?

An Environmental Programme (EP) is a management plan/funding agreement that sets out actions required to protect and restore a PBS. Developed in collaboration with the landowner, they set out the actions that landowners can take to manage a PBS and how Regional Council or care groups can help.

Note: an environmental programme for a PBS typically includes grants for management activities. 
If a landowner doesn't want to take this path, we are still available to give advice.