Issue 23, November 2014
In this issue
The first national assessment of ecosystems services in New Zealand was recently released (Ecosystem Services in New Zealand – Conditions and Trends, 2013. Manaaki Whenua Press).
Optimising ecosystem services of (urban) soils
Where soils are used to mitigate effluent or stormwater they must provide key ecosystems services of water detention, water retention, and contaminant removal.
Using an ecosystem services approach to assess the cost of soil erosion
Soil degradation from farmland is a significant issue across New Zealand. This study investigates an ecosystem services (ES) approach to estimate the long-term environmental cost of shallow mass movement erosion, and to evaluate the wider environmental and social benefits of soil conservation practices.
Mapping soil health from microbial genes
Soil scientists from regionals councils (Northland RC, Auckland Council, Waikato RC, Hawke’s Bay RC, Greater Wellington RC, Tasman District Council, Marlborough District Council, Environment Canterbury and Environment Southland), the University of Auckland (Dr Gavin Lear) and Landcare Research (Dr Bryan Stevenson) have joined together to take soil quality monitoring to a higher level.
Soil microbes – bacteria, archaea, and fungi
Soils harbour enormous microbial diversity, comprising bacteria, archaea, and fungi. The total fresh weight mass of organisms in grassland soils can exceed 45 tonnes per hectare, equalling or exceeding above-ground biomass.
Impact of climate change on the diversity and functioning of soil microbial communities
Microorganisms comprise the majority of soil biomass and diversity and provide vital ecosystem services such as the breakdown of soil organic matter and cycling of available nitrogen. However, despite the importance of microbial communities for soil health and fertility, we know remarkably little about their response to changing climatic conditions.
On-farm riparian zones and ecosystem services valuation
In response to the growing concerns about surface water quality, the voluntary approach to fencing riparian zones on dairy farms is now becoming a mandatory requirement from regional authorities in some dairying regions, and a condition of supply by milk companies. This has intensified the debate on the value of riparian zones, and the degree to which they are actively managed.
An overview of water quality in relation to land use in New Zealand
Much information on the water quality of New Zealand rivers at national scale has come from monitoring at the 77 sites of the National Rivers Water Quality Network (NRWQN) operated by NIWA for 25 years.
Downscaling ecosystem services to catchment scale
A case study in the Ruamahanga catchment.
Orchard ecosystem services: bounty from the fruit bowl
The ecological infrastructures that underpin the production of New Zealand’s fruit comprise valuable natural-capital assets. From these stocks flow ecosystem services that are valuable to the whole community.
Monitoring agricultural land use with time–series satellite images
New remote sensing technology has been developed at Landcare Research to map paddock boundaries and identify the agricultural land uses within them. Satellite images are used, so a large area (approximately 60 x 60 km) is covered in a single map.
Climate change impacts on ecosystem services
Research is showing that climate change has and will continue to alter provision, timing, and location of ecosystem functions across landscapes. These changes will impact on the benefits people get from nature, in both positive and negative ways.
New Zealand’s planted forests provide important services to society
New Zealand’s 1.72 million hectares of planted forests constitute a productive ecosystem mainly recognised for the provision of wood and fibre. The New Zealand planted forest ecosystem is also increasingly recognised for its contribution to the country’s economic prosperity, environmental conservation and human well-being.
Mānuka and organic waste – uncovering a potential partnership
The ever-increasing need for environmentally sound waste disposal has put pressure on society to investigate the recycling of organic wastes such as biosolids.
Nature services: a new green tool box
A new decision support tool for selecting plants for restoration and landscaping in New Zealand is now up and running.