The Department of Conservation (DOC) is excited to be a part of the New Zealand Biological Heritage science challenge that was launched today (August 29).
Science and Innovation Minister Stephen Joyce launched the programme of research, to be undertaken in the challenge, at the Zealandia sanctuary in Wellington this morning.
The programme involves agencies working together on research aimed at developing new ways of tackling issues that threaten our unique native wildlife and plants and the ecosystems they depend on.
"We're talking about research into how we combat pests such as possums, rats and stoats that threaten the survival of our native birds, including our national symbol the kiwi," says DOC's Director-General Lou Sanson.
The programme also includes research into: combating weeds that threaten native plants, which provide homes and food for our unique native wildlife; developing systems to measure the range and richness of our native species and habitats, so we can see the impact of conservation work; developing ways of maintaining healthy and robust ecosystems that support our biological heritage and underpin our economy.
"Our biological heritage goes to the heart of what it is to be a New Zealander. So we're excited to be one of the agencies involved in the science challenge research programme launched today," says Lou Sanson.
"This research will help ensure we protect our unique native wildlife and native forests for future generations. If we don't do this work we could lose the Kiwi within our generation."
"DOC is already working to develop smarter ways to save our native species and ecosystems, so this challenge aligns with what we're doing on a day to day basis."
"The great thing about the challenge is that it brings together scientists from a range of agencies. We'll have some of New Zealand's leading experts in this area working together to look at new and innovative ways of securing the survival of our unique wildlife."
The challenge will also involve the public and aims to have members of the community helping with the research.
The government announced 10 National Science Challenges on May 1 last year. They were developed from the Great NZ Science Project. Each challenge involves scientists from different agencies working together to develop new ways to address these issues.
DOC has been involved in shaping the Biological Heritage science challenge from the beginning. "We thank Landcare Research for their leadership of this challenge and the other agencies we've worked with to develop this essential research programme," says Lou Sanson.