Author:Peter Handford, Karen Denyer, Monica Peters, Groundtruth Ltd
Source:Auckland Council | Groundtruth Ltd
Use this guide to choose the best methods to monitor the health of ecosystems or ecosystem components that your community group is managing, restoring or studying. The guide will help you to measure changes in the state of animal pests, weeds, water quality, habitat health, vegetation, planting progress and native wildlife in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland’s diverse ecosystems. How you use this guide will depend on the stage of restoration your group and project has reached. If you are checking and reviewing your current approach to monitoring, you can dip into the section you need, or if you are just beginning to set up your monitoring, we recommend you work through the whole guide.
Community-led ecological restoration projects are making a significant contribution to conserving Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland’s environment and its unique biodiversity. Well over 100 community groups are now engaged in restoration projects and collectively helping to turn the tide on biodiversity loss and ecosystem decline. Many more unlisted groups and individuals also contribute. Dedicated volunteers work in a range of ecosystems including forest, scrub, lakes, streams, wetlands, estuaries, dunes and rocky shores. Their activities commonly include:
- managing pests (e.g. possums, rats, stoats, pigs, hedgehogs, goats)
- fencing out livestock
- controlling weeds (e.g. willow, woolly nightshade, ginger)
- planting new areas to increase habitat
- planting streambanks (riparian areas) to improve water quality and stream health
- clearing litter
- returning missing threatened species to where they were once found.
Restoring an ecosystem to a healthy state is a major task for any group of volunteers. Monitoring the inputs (i.e. activity monitoring), as well as what has been achieved (outcome monitoring), is essential to ensure the project is on the right track towards achieving its objectives. To obtain robust data that supports and informs the project; monitoring needs to be well planned, resourced and timely, along with the appropriate expertise, to help design the study and collect, analyse and interpret the data.