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September updates: new funding, planting season and published articles

Kia ora koutou,

We’re hoping everyone is coping well with the continued effects of the Covid pandemic. It’s a stressful time for so many but it’s great to see people banding together to support each other through the tough times.


We’re stoked to announce our funding from One Billion Trees/Te Uru Rākau has been finalised – adding $520,000 to our research and restoration kete. Adding this to the funding from AUT means we have over $1 million for Living Labs projects: recloaking the whenua around Tāmaki Makaurau and creating incredible classrooms in the process.

We also have additional funding from Te Uru Rākau to continue Adam’s position as a Restoration Ambassador (RA) part-time, as well as hiring another RA on a full-time basis.

Living Laboratories

We spent much of winter planting out the second Living Labs site, Te Muri, alongside Auckland Council and Ngāti Manuhiri. Just like our first site, Pourewa, this is retired pastoral land so it’s exciting to think of the change we’ll see there in years to come!

We’ll be monitoring and testing lots of different things in the future, but at the moment we’re focusing on different planting densities. That is, are current restoration practices cost effective? Could we plant trees with bigger gaps to cut down on plant costs? Or would the extra cost of weeding make this a waste of time?

To keep up to date with all our Living Lab progress you can follow @AUT_Living_Labs on Twitter.

Published articles

In June Valance published a great piece in the NZ Ecological Society’s ‘Hot Topics’ about indigenizing agroecology in Aotearoa. You can read the full, open access article by clicking here.

The FNC team also published two more papers (both freely available) in the NZ Journal of Ecology:

· Achieving win-win outcomes for pastoral farming and biodiversity conservation in New Zealand

· Restoring mature-phase forest tree species through enrichment planting in New Zealand’s lowland landscapes

Two more articles are due out soon – looking at farmer perceptions of biodiversity and the significance of sheep and beef farms to conservation.

Don’t forget you can find all our papers, reports, podcast interviews and more on the Resources page of our website.

New connections

In August we had representatives from FNC, BioHeritage National Science Challenge, Red Meat Profit Partnership, MPI and Beef + Lamb NZ get together to map out the next steps for our ‘Farming with Biodiversity’ website.

This website is intended to give farmers all the information they could ever want about biodiversity on farms – presenting it in a consolidated and logical way that can be continually updated with the latest information.

We’ve made a great start, but it’s a huge task and we need more funding and people available to make a really good go of it. So we’ve contracted Maven Consulting to help us put together a proposal that’ll get a few more partners on board.

At the hui the team hashed out practical timeframes and steps for the website (and accompanying outreach), as well identifying what will and won’t be possible to include in the near, mid and distant future. It was great to see such enthusiasm for this resource and we’re excited to see where the project goes from here.

Ngā mihi,

The Farming & Nature Conservation Team:

Hannah Buckley, David Norton, Brad Case, Margaret Stanley, Valance Smith, Stacey Bryan, Tarn Gillman, Adam Forbes, Jeff Silby, Estelle Dominati, Margaret Brown, Fleur Maseyk, Bruce Small and Roxanne Henwood.

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