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We use the term ‘representative’ because there are limitations to full restoration, such as species that have since become extinct and exotic species that cannot be controlled or excluded. The context in which we are working has also irreversibly changed. What was once part of a vast unbroken ecosystem is now essentially a 225ha island surrounded by suburbs and scrubland.
Within these constraints, we aim to create a fenced safe haven as free as possible of non-native species, in which we can:
-Re-establish wild populations of representative fauna and flora and restore indigenous habitats.
-Restore the indigenous character of the valley.
-Get key natural processes such as species dispersal and gene-flow functioning once again.
-Gain knowledge and methodologies that can be applied elsewhere.
-Contribute to national recovery programmes.
To meet these outcomes, general policies were developed in ten areas, including:
-Translocation to be used to replace missing species.
-Species to be sourced from the nearest geographical populations able to be sustainably cropped.
-Extinct species could be replaced by analogues.
-Where appropriate, all management techniques available to be used (eg. supplementary feeding and artificial nest boxes).
-Public feeding of birds to be discouraged.
-Habitat manipulation permitted within the constraints of management zones defined in the Management Plan.
-All transfers require the consent of the Department of Conservation and support of affected landowners and local iwi – to obtain consent from the appropriate parties each transfer has to meet strict ecological criteria and often requires comprehensive disease screening.
Our Restoration Strategy provides the framework for the restoration of both forest and freshwater ecosystems, listing the species and habitats thought to be appropriate to the valley and identifying activities to be undertaken to achieve a successful outcome. The artificial dams are of historic importance so are permanent, so the two lakes are treated in the Strategy as if they had been caused by a natural stochastic event, allowing for the “restoration” of a representative diverse range of freshwater fauna and flora.