Conference 2003

Conference 2003
Greening the City:
Bringing Biodiversity Back
into the Urban Environment


Banks Peninsula - a Connected Island

Frances Schmechel (NZ Landcare Trust, Christchurch)

Banks Peninsula is tied to Christchurch in many ways - physically, socially and perhaps politically. Yet both are also islands - Christchurch a city of trees and people surrounded by the Canterbury plains, Banks Peninsula a historic island only recently connected to the mainland. This creates both risks and opportunities.

Banks Peninsula is a volcanic landscape that was an island for much of its 15 million years existence. As such it has a number of endemics, including 6 plants and about 2-4% of its insects. Banks Peninsula has undergone extensive changes since the arrival of humans. Most of its forest cover was lost through logging and burning. Only about 1% of the original forests have survived. More recently many areas have begun to regenerate, with about 15% now under some form of regenerating bush.

One group very involved in biodiversity on the Peninsula is the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, which emerged out of the district planning process. Composed mainly of farmers and local landowners, its aims are to promote conservation, biodiversity enhancement, and sustainable land management on the Peninsula through voluntary means, rather than rules. A variety of methods are being used to achieve these goals including conservation covenants, fencing, eradication of goats, possum control, weed control, and newsletters. New initiatives will soon be underway including field days, workshops, and local Bay meetings.

There are risks to Banks Peninsula biodiversity from its proximity to Christchurch, including weeds (especially from gardens), the abandonment of pets, and overuse from tourists and city dwellers alike. Water availability and water quality are also issues for residents of the Peninsula. Land uses may change as land values rise and areas are subdivided for lifestyle blocks.

Opportunities include the restoration of gullies (al la Hamilton City), creation of habitat linkages and restoration back into Christchurch of birds such as brown creeper, tomtit, and rifleman that are resident on the Peninsula. There are also opportunities to increase native animal and plant numbers via pest control, and perhaps one day to even restore tui back onto the Peninsula.

Conference sponsored by:

British Council NZ
The Community Trust
Landcare Research

Follow this link to view other organisations supportive of the conference

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Last updated: July 29, 2003