Date: 15 April 2009
The Department of Conservation’s Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project in Nelson Lakes National Park has been recognised as one of Australasia’s top 25 ecological restoration projects.
The Rotoiti mainland island is among eight New Zealand sites selected in the ‘top 25’ by a cross-Tasman panel of ecologists in a competition run by the international Global Restoration Network. The contest was part of the preparation for a major ecological restoration conference being held in Perth in August.
The Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project is restoring honeydew beech forest by Lake Rotoiti through carrying out intensive pest control to enable recovery of native species. It was launched in 1997 over an initial 825 hectares and expanded in 2002 to 5000 hectares.
DOC’s Nelson Lakes Area Manager Alison Rothschild said being recognised as one of Australasia’s top 25 ecological restoration projects was a tremendous honour for the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project.
“It is a tribute to the skills and hard work of the Department of Conservation staff involved and the contribution of our community supporters. I wish to particularly acknowledge the Friends of Rotoiti volunteers who carry out pest control and monitoring work in support of the project
“The Rotoiti project’s selection recognises not just the success we are having in restoring the ecology of the mainland island site but also the project’s more far-reaching contribution to conservation through research and trialling of conservation management techniques that can be applied elsewhere.
“This has included determining levels of pest control needed to increase kaka populations, developing techniques in conjunction with Landcare Research for large-scale wasp control - including running what is believed to be the world’s largest wasp control operation covering 1100 hectares - and the translocation of great spotted kiwi to Rotoiti through which more knowledge has been gained about this kiwi species.
“It is rewarding for the project team that the Rotoiti mainland island provides a model and inspiration for ecological restoration projects elsewhere including those being set up by community groups.
“The Rotoiti project site’s accessibility has enabled it to be a wonderful showcase of what conservation can achieve in bringing back some of the natural heritage that once was here. It is gratifying to hear people’s appreciation of the work we are doing and their enjoyment at experiencing the mainland island.”
Other New Zealand projects selected by the panel were Tiritiri Matangi Island, Mana Island, Karori Sanctuary, Te Urewera mainland island, Fiordland islands restoration project, Maungatautari ecological island and Bushy Park sanctuary.