Predator Free pathways: Measuring, assessing and evaluating the difference we make

Department of Conservation —  12/03/2020

With the launch of the Predator Free 2050 strategy: ‘Towards a Predator Free New Zealand’, we’re doing a series of blogs about the pathways identified in the strategy which are going to help us get to Predator Free.

One of those pathways is he aronui, he aromataiwaitia, he aromātai te rerekētanga – measuring and assessing the difference we make.

A New Zealand where our forests are rustling with the sounds of wētā, bats and lizards, our birds are thriving and rats, possums and stoats are a distant memory.

That’s the end game for Predator Free 2050, but to make sure we’re on the right track we’ll need the right tools to monitor, assess and evaluate our progress along the way.

The need for monitoring and evaluating isn’t always so obvious, but data is incredibly vital to ensure we’re using our limited resources efficiently, effectively and getting the best outcome for our native species.

We’re already monitoring and assessing the data and results of our predator control work on public conservation land.

Monitoring results from recent Tiakina Ngā Manu operations have helped inform when and where predator control is most needed and helped guide operational decisions to get the best outcome for our native species.

To achieve a predator free New Zealand we’re going to need to have a clear understanding, at scale, of what data we need and why.

Data will inform the decisions we make. It needs to be accessible and visible so that those who need it, can access it and easily make sense of it.

Data collection technology is changing rapidly and new tools are continually being developed. A key first step is ensuring national collaboration and making sure that data can be managed collectively amongst the multiple organisations contributing to Predator Free 2050. Early steps are being taken to investigate a tool to help achieve this.

Geospatial tools are also important as we plan for Predator Free 2050. The Predator Free New Zealand Trust is developing a map illustrating current community predator control projects. This includes projects by community groups, landowners, DOC, Predator Free 2050 Ltd, local authorities and OSPRI.

Monitoring will be crucial to detect the presence of predators and to understand the difference we are making. As part of this kaupapa, there will be opportunities for mātauranga-centred monitoring at particular places or rohe.

Towards a Predator Free New Zealand

A future Aotearoa, flourishing with abundant native wildlife and forests is the bold vision that has galvanized thousands of New Zealanders into active support for a predator free New Zealand by 2050.

The Predator Free 2050 strategy, ‘Towards a Predator Free New Zealand’, sets out a framework over the next 30 years for New Zealand to address the current biodiversity crisis and achieve the predator free goal.

The Predator Free 2050 strategy