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April newsletter: new staff, collaborations and results

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

Tēnā koutou,

It is with great sadness that we said goodbye to Chloé in March, who is going back to France to study teaching. Chloé has been heavily involved with field work on our two North Island farms so she is leaving a big gap in our project!

Stepping into her shoes is Tarn Gillman, who we’re excited to welcome on board. Tarn is a research assistant based at AUT and will be helping Farming & Nature Conservation with geospatial science, macro-ecology and field work.

Our new recruit, Tarn Gillman, in his element


With our second field season almost complete we’re starting to pull the last two years’ data together and get stuck into analysis.

We are using our project field data and remote sensing data (aerial photos, satellite, drone) to develop a modelling framework. The goal is to use this framework to quantify and predict changes in the function of biodiversity at local to landscape scales. So far, the data we have will show us which birds use which habitats, fire hazards, plant-soil water relations, and carbon sequestration.

We’ll keep you up to date with results as they come out, so make sure you keep an eye out on our facebook and twitter pages for the latest news.

The New Zealand Sheep and Beef Sector’s Contribution to Biodiversity and Carbon Sequestration

The summary of Jennifer’s presentation to the Nutrition Society of New Zealand annual conference is now available, open access, online.

Late last year she discussed the results of our report that was commissioned by Beef + Lamb NZ. It was great to be able to highlight the important role sheep and beef farms in Aotearoa have to play in the conservation of biodiversity and sequestration of carbon.

With a quarter of all native vegetation in New Zealand occurring within this land use, sheep and beef farmers are the natural kaitiaki (guardians) for many native species in their area.

This is why it is so important for farmers to work together so we can protect our native flora and fauna at a landscape scale.

Our sites need a lot of prep for thousands of plants!

Living Laboratory Experiment

Plants are ordered and ground preparation has begun for our

first Living Laboratory experiment site.

Each of our three sites will be around 5 ha in size and will be home to investigations into how we can most effectively grow native, old-growth canopy tree species.

With so much investment going into reforestation these days, it’s essential we get the right trees in the right place, to get the most of the money spent.

The first on-site team meeting will be on May 8th, when some new members of the team will meet for the first time and we can all kōrero about how the project will progress into the future.

Living Water Collaboration

We’re excited to have been invited into the Living Water whānau, with David and Stacey giving a keynote talk at their national hui in May.

Living Water is a collaboration between the Department of Conservation and Fonterra that aims to see farming, freshwater and healthy ecosystems thriving side-by-side. They work with dairy, and sheep and beef farms at a catchment scale, so our projects are similar in many ways.

Living Water have been doing some awesome work with biodiversity on their study farms, some of which you can check out on their YouTube channel.

Ngā mihi,

The Farming & Nature Conservation team:

Hannah Buckley, David Norton, Brad Case, Margaret Stanley, Jennifer Pannell, Valance Smith, Estelle Dominati, Margaret Brown, Fleur Maseyk, Stacey Bryan, Tan Gillman, Leilani Walker and Adam Forbes

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