Conference 2003

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


Backyard Biodiversity

Gilbert Brakey (Gecko NZ and Convener of Friends of the Whau Inc.)

Much of the urban area of New Zealand is in either public or private land ownership. Biodiversity outside the public conservation lands includes, farms, Maori land, urban backyards, land managed by public utilities, and council reserves. Publicly owned land is comparatively well cared for when it comes to having a biodiversity strategy, but land in private ownership is a more neglected area. New Zealand today lacks a land ethic that encourages the protection of natural values on private land. Thus it requires a mind-shift to think of urban areas as an integral part of biodiversity management. Apart from the preliminary 'BioWhat?' report and the follow up MfE report, 'Biodiversity on Private Land' (August 2000), biodiversity on private land is an area very much in the process of construction.

Green open-spaces in private ownership, are an integral part of a residential, commercial, industrial, and reserves urban mix. Comprising areas of bush, gardens, motorway/council reserves and grassed areas, which in their own right offer some degree of biodiversity. But are these places adequate long term, or does it offer a means of increasing our indigenous biodiversity and sustainability as a nation? What opportunities are there for increasing species diversity, of protecting gene diversity and increasing habitat through ecological diversity?

Ecologically based landscape planning and design may offer an opportunity through the introduction of Backyard Bushways which would not only address peoples need for aesthetic appeal, but also address a national biodiversity strategy for land in private ownership. Creating a means by which individuals can meet their own needs and at the same time contribute to the community and a region. Thus 'turning the tide' on the loss of indigenous biodiversity throughout the urban areas of New Zealand.

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: October 9, 2003