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Keywords:

  • community involvement;
  • linkages;
  • New Zealand;
  • planting scaling up restoration, succession;
  • urban ecosystem restoration

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

Bruce Clarkson is recognised as one of New Zealand's foremost authorities on ecological restoration, with a research and management focus on restoring indigenous vegetation communities in cities. He urges optimism in the face of change, by emphasising the importance of long-term and broad-scale perspectives.


TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Yes, well my current work is underpinned by my doctoral work on vegetation recovery after volcanic eruptions, which have been characteristic of the geological history of New Zealand. Then there was 11 years of ecological survey and advice to management agencies while I was employed by the New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), plus involvement with threatened plant species recovery plans and so on. Consultancies followed, including an assignment to review New Zealand's Biodiversity Strategy. With age I've turned my attention to helping community groups doing on the ground restoration and increasingly focus on urban environments (Fig. 1).

image

Figure 1. Commitment to recovering native ecosystems requires working on a range of fronts. Restoration ecologist Bruce Clarkson joins in on a planting day at the award-winning Coastal Walkway project in New Plymouth, Taranaki (photograph Catherine Kirby).

Download figure to PowerPoint

TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: It's probably best to go right back to when I first became interested in nature. I was raised in the country on a dairy farm beneath the spectacular volcano known as Mount Taranaki, on the ringplain adjoining the area protected from clearing in the late 19th century (Fig. 2). I have three brothers and two of them are directly involved with environmental science as well. So it was the environment in which we were raised, where nature was all around you.

image

Figure 2. Growing up under Mount Taranaki had a formative influence on the young Bruce Clarkson and became the focus of a lifelong interest in how native plant communities regenerate after major disturbances. Today, Bruce has directed that knowledge for guiding others in ecological restoration after human-induced damage (photograph Bill Clarkson).

Download figure to PowerPoint

When we were very young we used to bike up to the nearby national park and camp at weekends without any adult supervision. Basically we would just roam the landscape. Nature was all around us and we just absolutely connected.

I was about 7 years old when I started getting interested in birds and plants, and I was always interested in the native side of things as opposed to the exotic. Probably because of my exposure to the vegetation of the mountain. I think it was in 1958, when I was 9 years old, that my parents, after some pressure from me, bought me Laing and Blackwell's book on the New Zealand flora. Within a couple of years I knew pretty well all the forest plants in that book.

And of course we had supportive parents. My mother, who has just turned 90, was a marvellous gardener, an absolutely amazing gardener. But neither my mother nor father could answer my questions about what is the name of that plant, what is the name of that bird. I think the fact that they couldn't answer my questions assisted my education. I went out and tried to find out the answer for myself.

TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: I did have some people in primary school that shared my interest, but I can't say the same of secondary school. In those days, there was nothing in the secondary curriculum about nature or landscape, particularly nothing about New Zealand. It was still dominated by English and American examples. I certainly got magnificent support from one English and History teacher who mainly shaped my career in that he taught me how to write a good essay and encouraged me to be interested in whatever I wanted to be interested in. But science-wise, I basically picked up the basics myself. Even at university when I did botany, no one taught me the New Zealand flora. It ended up that I taught the lecturers the New Zealand flora. Later on, of course, my PhD supervisor, Alan Edmonds was influential. He was a plant physiologist who did research on pine trees, but he got very interested in what I was doing. He progressively went out of the academic environment and eventually became the Deputy Director General of the Department of Conservation.

My Master's thesis involved an altitudinal gradient analysis of the vegetation on Mt Taranaki (Fig. 3), the region I came from. Then for my PhD I moved on to look into broader temporal and spatial scale processes in the wider Taranaki region. I focussed on succession in relation to volcanic disturbance. The last major eruption of Mt Taranaki was roughly 350 years ago, and there is still evidence in the composition and structure of the forest of previous eruptions. I pieced together the story to explain the current pattern and processes as they connected back to the most recent disturbance event.

image

Figure 3. High rainfall, humidity and cloud cover, along with recent volcanic disturbance have shaped the development of ‘goblin’ (cloud) forest, a form of rainforest, on Mount Taranaki, where the main trees are Mountain Totara (Podocarpus cunninghamii) and Kamahi (Weinmannia racemosa) (photograph Daniel Laughlin).

Download figure to PowerPoint

TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Time and space. Yes, I do tend to think in terms of very long time scales even with my current restoration work. That's why I've ended up being interested in intergenerational projects. It is fanciful to think that in a period of say 5 or 10 years you could hope to bring back a forest to something like it was; when the lifespan of the main species in the forest might be 800 years. If it took 200 years for New Zealanders to completely modify the landscape, why would we think that it would not take the same level of resource and time span to restore the system as it took to remove and degrade the system?

TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Absolutely. My childhood, vegetation studies and early job gave me the building blocks needed to do restoration ecology. But there was no such thing as restoration ecology when I was at university. My first love was how nature repaired itself after major natural disturbance. This certainly involved broad-scale processes, but I can't pretend to have been taking a systems approach or restoration approach from the start of my working life. Most of my early research work for agencies was focused on understanding the extent and quality of the resource, usually vegetation (particularly individual threatened plant species) and how vegetation was impacted upon by browsing animals such as goats, deer or possums. The talk was about conservation biology, and there was not yet talk of restoration ecology; it was a gradual transition to becoming more interested in ecosystem processes. Because I was involved in my DSIR times in giving advice to management agencies, I progressively transitioned from species conservation to ecosystem management and eventually to restoration ecology.

This was how it was in New Zealand in general at the time. It was only after the ecosystem approach started to be adopted that there was a progressive transition from a focus on individual species conservation to a broader view. It just very naturally transitioned into thinking about how a system became degraded and how to recover it. I think that's a natural evolution that occurs when people start thinking about the causes and effects of degradation.

TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Well New Zealand's levels of endemism are pretty well unparalleled except for places like Hawai'i – and so the impacts you mentioned have resulted in a very high number of extinctions, particularly of birds.

Interestingly, we have a very low number of extinctions in plants – although we may well have some of that problem to face in the future as the number of naturalised introduced vascular plants now exceeds native vascular plants. While recent research has shown that we have reasonable levels of plant species richness for temperate forest ecosystems, we have very low numbers of plant species in total across the country. That is, there are only about 2500 native vascular plants in total in New Zealand, which is very low when you think about places like Ecuador where there are something like 3000 species of orchids alone. But our isolation means that we still have comparatively very high levels of endemism in most plant groups.

TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Yes, there are two main projects I am involved with in the Hamilton Ecological District, which is in the northern North Island of New Zealand. The first is the Hamilton gullies project and the second is a 60 ha project at Waiwhakareke (Horseshoe Lake) which involves reconstruction from scratch of a range of ecosystems characteristic of the district.

This district, by the way is one of the most modified districts in New Zealand (Fig. 4). At least 20% of its indigenous flora is threatened or extinct, and more than one-half of its indigenous bird species have gone. A gradual recognition of the magnitude of landscape transformation has gathered momentum, particularly in Hamilton city, to the stage that there is now a concerted public and private effort to retrofit the city by restoring and reconstructing indigenous ecosystems.

image

Figure 4. Hamilton city is in the centre of the Hamilton Ecological District, which is one of the most modified districts in New Zealand, with more than 20% of its indigenous flora threatened or extinct and more than one-half of its indigenous bird species gone (map Toni Cornes).

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The gullies project is very interesting because Hamilton city itself has very few intact remnants, but it does have four major gully systems which lend themselves to restoration (Figs 5, 6).

image

Figure 5. A gradual recognition of the loss of native habitats and species in the Hamilton Ecological District has led to a public and private effort to restore indigenous ecosystems, particularly in Hamilton city which has four major gully systems (Kirikiriroa, Mangakotukutuku, Mangaonua and Waitawhiriwhiri) and is bisected by the Waikato River (map Toni Cornes).

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image

Figure 6. Gullies form a network of greenways (green veins and wildlife corridors) throughout Hamilton city. This gully system, the Mangakotukutuku, is named after the native tree Fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) (Photo Hamilton City Council).

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The Hamilton gullies were treated as ‘waste’ land rather than lands with any conservation value. They were degraded by clearing for farming prior to the city being developed and subsequently became invaded by almost every weed known to humankind. People would toss all their lawn clippings, weeds or rubbish out of their back yard into the gully. Then, at some point in time, that notion of using the gully in a positive way emerged.

Some of the first ever gully planting projects started 50–60 years ago, and in 1972 W. M, McLeary from Lincoln University did a landscape architecture thesis highlighting the potential of Hamilton gullies for revegetation for aesthetic purposes. But when I first started getting interested in gullies in the late 1970s, there were still only a couple of pioneer people out there doing plantings. It wasn't until roughly the year 2000 that the idea really started taking off. The change of attitude was partly caused by a proposal about using one gully for landfill and there was a public outcry. People started talking about how we use gullies and what we do with them. All of a sudden there was a recognition that the gully was a good place to do revegetation and restoration planting, and the Gully Restoration Programme was officially started by Hamilton City Council in 2000.

The programme is a partnership with other groups, particularly community groups and the university. Since 2000, we have been working together towards this goal of restoring Hamilton gullies and learning from our experiences. We looked at previous plantings to see what worked; and started running things like annual gully restoration workshops. We very quickly worked out that there was a whole bunch of people in the city, private landholders who backed on to gullies, who were interested. Adding in the land owned by the city council itself, this presented an amazing opportunity and so a Gully Management Plan and a Gully Restoration Guide were developed in 2001. [see http://www.gullyguide.co.nz].

TM: So there was a learning process.

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Yes. There were people out there in the community somewhere with an interest in growing trees. These people may start with introduced plants but somewhere along the way there is a learning about ‘What would have been here before?’ It is when that question starts to be addressed that it starts to get really interesting.

For example, there was one resident in particular, the late Alwyn Seeley, who was an ear nose and throat doctor at Waikato Hospital. He started doing this about 60 years ago and said that when he first started he didn't even know the name of the plants, what their characteristics were, where best to grow them. He told me that at first he had no idea what he was actually doing. But he learned along the way and progressively started favouring native plants that belong in the district and started to understand what were the best combinations of plants for the site.

TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Yes, there had been systematic and extensive removal of the indigenous plant communities from the landscape for agriculture, prior to urban development. They had pretty well removed everything, and not a lot of the rainforest soil seed bank remained. So although indigenous plants do come back in the Hamilton gullies, they are usually the generalists. We didn't have enough of the mid- or late-successional species that would end up dominating the landscape and too few nearby remnants from which natural colonisation could occur.

TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Well, of course we had the extant communities further from the city, but other evidence of what grew previously in the city itself was provided by the original surveyor's notebooks. These people were amazing naturalists, so well educated. They knew lots of natural history and recorded it in their notebooks!

TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Not necessarily. I was just teaching my New Zealand flora class yesterday and I showed them the 1891 Class book of Botany for New Zealand Schools – replete with native plant examples – written by George M Thomson, a science master at Dunedin High School at that time. So it was clearly a really important subject (and emphasis) back then and somehow got completely supplanted. When you think of it, it's amazing how much knowledge must have been lost.

We've also got macrofossil and microfossil evidence of what previously occurred. And, importantly, we have also got connection to iwi, Maori people, who have also got all sorts of stories about their landscape and the plants and animals that used to be there.

TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: It is a staged process of course. Our goal is to try and restore a diverse native forest and we measure the increased extent of the resource. The gully habitat in the whole of the city itself is just on 750 ha and when you take all of the resource that's been restored or reconstructed in the gullies and include the Waiwhakareke project, we are getting up to about one-seventh of what we can potentially do.

We have found the task of establishing a reasonably diverse native forest in our favourable climate to be not that difficult. Normally, within 7 or 8 years, you can get good canopy closure and that has all sorts of really interesting implications in terms of controlling exotic plants, especially ground layer plants. And after 20–25 years, as has been shown by one of my PhD students, the seed bank and the seed rain are progressively becoming dominated by native species. So it is a long-term process but it is actually quite easy to establish a good forest canopy in 20 years (Fig. 7).

image

Figure 7. Stages in gully restoration: (a) 7 years/Mangaiti Gully (photograph Bev Clarkson); (b) 15 years/Kirikiriroa Gully (photograph Bruce Clarkson); (c) >50 years/A.J. Seeley Reserve (photograph Gerard Kelly).

Download figure to PowerPoint

TM: And how is this going down with the public?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Since its inception, the Gully Restoration Programme has been trying to make the connection with landowners and all other interested parties. There are gully restoration projects associated with schools, for example. There is one school in particular near where I live that has completely adopted the notion of a ‘green school’. They have their own restoration project and the kids are gully restoration ambassadors. And we have a database maintained by Hamilton city that has registered about 800 landowners who have an interest in some form of gully restoration. We put out newsletters and hold seminars and workshops, providing a meeting at least once a year where any interested person can come along. I wouldn't say that the whole population is interested, some wouldn't be interested whatever you do, but the general level of buy-in by people directly affected by gullies is pretty good. An indicator is that when the city council, prior to the last election, tried to cull the gully programme because of some bad financial decision-making over the past few years, there was a public backlash and council recognised the need to persist with the programme.

TM: Who is actually running it?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: It gets run out of the City Council. Council has staff whose job is to coordinate and make the links between all those who have an interest in gully restoration and organise events like community plantings. And our university has been a key partner since day one.

TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Yes, Waiwhakareke is smaller site – some 60 ha – but is also within the Hamilton city boundary (Fig. 8). It is a mini catchment around a peat lake that was landbanked by a former mayor for open space. Like the Hamilton gullies, it had been previously farmed for probably 100 years, initially for dairying and then for beef cattle. The land was kept, owned by the city, and a grazing lease was maintained.

image

Figure 8. Planting zones for various forest and wetland ecosystems being constructed at the 60 ha Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park. (A) Kauri/Kanuka forest (ridge crest); (B) Rimu/Tawa forest (hillslope); (C) Kahikatea-Pukatea forest (semiswamp); (D) Harakeke (lake margin/swamp; (E) Lake/aquatic habitat (map Hamilton City Council).

Download figure to PowerPoint

Again, things started happening around the year 2000. The project originally emerged as a millennium project. In New Zealand at the time there was a public forum where you could make suggestions about what would be a good public project to celebrate the millennium. And there had been a big political debate about what we would do with this land, which is right next to the zoo. I was involved with a group of people who put forward a serious proposal to reconstruct on the site all the ecosystem types that once characterised the landscapes around the city. We could see that it would be pretty interesting to have the zoo juxtaposed next to a park that would showcase native plants and animals.

In the end we prevailed. But it was a pretty interesting process that involved one-on-one lobbying with the councillors, taking them to the site and talking with them about what we thought could be done with the place. So after all the lobbying and politicking, the city council handed over the land to recreate all these ecosystems. The first plant went into the ground in 2004.

TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: The city provides quite a lot of the support, with staff made available to help with the project, and their annual investment is earmarked for quite a long-term period. But a large chunk of the money comes from the operation of the Waiwhakareke Advisory Group, who are the governance group for the project. I am chair of that group, and we have on our committee a couple of people who specialise in bid writing and seeking money wherever we can find it. In essence, most of the 22 ha of the 60 ha that has been planted so far (Fig. 9), has been funded by us getting out and raising money.

image

Figure 9. Community engagement in plantings is a key to improved land management in New Zealand. Arbor Day 2012 at Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park (photograph Catherine Kirby).

Download figure to PowerPoint

TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: We developed a GIS tool here at the university for the planting programme. This maps every polygon of habitat type. The information was derived from the research that we've done on former composition and structure. This was integrated into the GIS so that people can go onto the GIS and see what plants they need for what year, when to order them, what sequence they go in. You know you start with the pioneers and move into mid-succession and late succession. So we have a comprehensive restoration plan based on evidence, based on research.

In my case, this is how I became a restoration ecologist really. All that understanding came from my long-term studies on recovery from volcanic disturbance. How does an ecosystem recover? What are the processes and patterns in that recovery? So all the stuff that I learned – the long-term studies and permanent plot networks that I set up at the beginning of my career – has been inserted into this project.

TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Yes, I have a great love of working on projects but I am really interested in how they all fit together; how they might lead to an opportunity for a regional-scale shift rather than just a shift at an individual site. So throughout my career I have always been moving into job opportunities where I can use my strategic- and higher-level thinking.

For example, after completing my PhD I worked with DSIR for 11 years; then I worked with a crown research institute for 7 years. After that I went off for a while as a private consultant to help the government's main science funding agency prepare strategic plans for the way funding would be allocated across New Zealand – that is, for land and water, marine and climate change research. That's how I got into a review of the Biodiversity Strategy (2005); they were looking for people who could pull information together at a very high level and look at all of the projects that were going on and try and come up with some suggestions for the future. Then I went from private consultancy into the university sector, first in a small way as a part-time position and then progressively I ended up being fully incorporated into the university. I guess this was because of being able to coordinate and bring in larger chunks of research funding by thinking at a larger scale.

And, as you say, the other part of this is the need for scale-up partnerships. I realised that working with government agencies is all very well but if we want to get permanent solution to most of these problems it is going to be about local communities taking stewardship of their own resource. There is no point in trying to rely on a government agency and a top-down imposition of how things are resolved. I have increasingly come to realise that for a long-term permanent solution, it is really about communities taking stewardship.

The big problem in New Zealand at the moment is that the Department of Conservation simply can't cope with the job. They are trying to manage one-third of New Zealand on a little more than $300 M per year. When you do the calculation it doesn't look very good. But the Department is just a flag bearer, if you like, of the ‘tax take’ that the government is prepared to put into the issue. The issue is bigger than that and now needs other types of partnerships, public and private combined, and funding from benefactors and so on. We need a plan to attack the problem at the scale that it is occurring by utilising all the available resource. The challenge is then how do you achieve that coordination and integration to actually attack the problem at the level it needs.

This is the reason we have tried to encourage the Department to be much more outward looking and maximise their interactions with communities and volunteers. At the end of the day, what we were advocating in that Biodiversity Strategy review was a different path for the Department; a way that is more outward looking and does not seek to impose their technical, often quite narrow, view on how it should happen.

TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Yes, you have to have a long-term view. A lot of people look at change and see the short-term problem and not the long-term solution. For example, some people say that the greatest conservationist of all time in New Zealand was Roger Douglas who was Minister of Finance in a labour government in the 1980s. He removed what were called ‘supplementary minimum payments’, which were a form of subsidy for farmers to maintain a certain stocking level or continue to develop their land. This led to massive forest regeneration of marginal lands in New Zealand as the farming of this unprofitable land ceased. So you can never tell what the policy context might be or a reaction to an environmental change that might lead to some positive outcome that you had never even thought of.

That's why I think it is problematic to be limiting the restoration paradigm in areas where restoration is still conceivable. Some people read the novel ecosystem debate, for example, as providing people with an excuse for not doing anything. There is nothing new about the fact that species have moved around the world. Yes the rates may be increasing and the impacts may be greater. But at the end of the day, if you take the approach that they are novel ecosystems and accept them for what they are without making the call on what you want for your landscape, you're actually just giving up; which can be premature at best and unnecessary at worst.

TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Yes. What interests me is how you build resilience to protect against future change. And it is not just about resilience of flora and fauna; it's also about community resilience. It's about how you build the partnerships and the groups, the whole community side, to the point that that is also resilient.

For example, one of the problems in urban restoration is that people tend to use a very limited array of plants compared to the number that should be being used. The simple deficiency I have found in most programmes in cities is about the range of species that are used. I have a PhD student about to submit her analysis of what is being used and what should be being used. Less than 50% of the flora that should be used is being used. That is, to reinstate ecological resilience we want comprehensive assemblages rather than small proportions that just represent some limited level of structure and function. In the city here it might be the need to consider several hundred vascular plants as opposed to the 20–30 species that are currently used in many planting projects.

This is often to do with the ways that nurseries operate and the knowledge in the trade and so on. Important learning has to occur, as there is a vast difference between approaches taken in traditional parks and gardens management and those taken in ecosystem management. So I am interested in how you build the capacity in a city where the people have training in how to run a park or a garden and how to produce bedding plants in your nursery, but not necessarily how to provide the full array of species needed to build resilience. Where is the knowledge on the tolerances and preferences of species; and where do you go to find the seed? So it is all down to these fundamental operational and infrastructure problems where people either don't know how to grow the plant or they don't know where to find it or they haven't worked out how to make a decent price out of growing enough of them. It is these simple things that can really stymie a project. You have to build this human-based skill and knowledge infrastructure and gather all the relevant people to get to the point where you can actually build what you are trying to achieve ecologically.

TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Yes despite my current emphasis on city environments I try to keep my connection with my rural roots. Recently I assisted the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust at a workshop held on a farm near Gisborne. Farmers from around the district who have voluntarily covenanted patches of native bush and wetlands congregated to compare notes on best restoration practice. My talk encouraged them to build resilience by buffering and corridor development, including riparian planting, reconnecting patches and weaving them together to form an interconnected network, a landscape scale approach. But at meetings like this I often sense the practice of restoration is ahead of the research and that the innovation comes from the practitioners willingness to just give it a go.

TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Yes, but there is nothing new in intergenerational ideas. Aldo Leopold has that phrase about thinking like a mountain which he coined many decades ago. In my mind it is about thinking like a mountain.

TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Yes, building ecological knowledge is a key to building that capacity and resilience. Unless we keep teaching people what is native, they won't know what this is about at all. Part of our challenge in New Zealand is how you help the community understand what is their heritage.

I've just finished this week teaching in a 2-week block course ‘Flora of New Zealand’ which we have now taught every year since 1993 (Fig. 10). That's 20 years. I am doing it to give the next generation the knowledge that they need to put the assemblage back together. It is not just a scientific and technical exercise. It's a cultural and social thing and it is about our heritage. I don't teach it so that they can learn, for example, the parts of a composite inflorescence. I teach it so that they can learn about their heritage.

image

Figure 10. Bruce Clarkson teaching the Flora of Aotearoa/New Zealand course which runs each year at the University of Waikato (photograph Lynne Baxter).

Download figure to PowerPoint

TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Yes. We have a major opportunity that has been caused by a series of treaty settlements, claims settlements for comanagement in a number of parts of the country. Ecological knowledge is my personal big connection with indigenous people. I can go into any community in New Zealand and immediately talk in a common language. For them it is about long-term – they call it kaitiakitanga – stewardship. And they talk about heritage. Any ecologist in New Zealand is able to cross that boundary and find the commonalities. We attract support for projects not just on the science and technical detail but also on the heritage aspect as it relates to both cultures. Iwi talk about plants and animals as being their relatives and they talk about the whakapapa, the genealogy, how they all came to be. All these elements can be woven into restoration projects. So you can satisfy a range of different cultural requirements, basically building an understanding of the heritage of being a New Zealander.

TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies

BC: Well you can use the ecosystem services argument if you want to take that line. For example, if we allow the one-third of New Zealand high country that is clothed in native forest to degrade to the point where it started falling away, we'd all pay the price. Or you could use an economic argument that by protecting that resource, you are saving natural capital and the services it provides.

But there is also the ethical argument: other organisms have a right to life. A lot of people nowadays shy away from using that and the heritage argument, perhaps on the basis that they are not evidence, not technical enough. But the point is that every one of these arguments is an important argument. We do not know what our natural heritage means in terms of potential for adaptation and resilience to changes that will occur in the future. It has taken millions of years for these things to evolve. If I was a mountain I would be thinking that the idea that native species and ecosystems are redundant is the height of human arrogance.

Biographies

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. TM: Your career is marked by having one foot in both the research and management camps. This is fairly unusual and would provide some interesting synergies?
  4. TM: Before we go into your career and current work, I'm keen to hear about what motivates you. What triggered your interest in this field or in nature itself?
  5. TM: What about inspiring teachers in your formal education?
  6. TM: That would have given you a profound understanding about scale – both temporal and spatial?
  7. TM: So your early childhood experiences led you to a profound field of study that has now led you full circle – from a natural curiosity about the native ecosystems on the mountain region to restoring it.
  8. TM: And what were the unique degradation concerns in New Zealand at that time? We know that, like elsewhere, there was reduced habitat due to land clearing, particularly for agri-culture and that New Zealand has some serious mammal pests. But what unique problems does New Zealand have?
  9. TM: So it stands to reason that you are now involved in on-ground projects to counter these extinc-tion pressures.
  10. TM: So there was a learning process.
  11. TM: I guess the potential for natural regeneration is very limited because of the prior clearing for farming?
  12. TM: And what did you use as your reference communities?
  13. TM: They must have been unusual at the time, given that there was no native flora in New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculum.
  14. TM: So how is the restoration work progressing in the Hamilton gully project?
  15. TM: And how is this going down with the public?
  16. TM: Who is actually running it?
  17. TM: And the second project you are involved in, Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage?
  18. TM: And how is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage funded?
  19. TM: Do you have restoration designers on the ground?
  20. TM: So your early PhD research is being built on all the time with your current research. But your subsequent work in management would have contributed a lot too… and heightened your awareness of the need for partnerships and increased scale?
  21. TM: Yes, to be positive, there can be some large gains made by including more players who can come up with new ideas about how things can be done. And this may take many generations.
  22. TM: I think that most people would agree that restoration can rebuild some ecosystems over long-time frames if communities are committed enough. So it involves social as well as biological work.
  23. TM: Well hopefully a focus on improving this social capacity will lead to greater ecological complexity in the longer term. We find a similar problem exists in revegetation in Australia, parti-cularly in rural areas where sites have been completely cleared, which reminds me, do you still have an interest in rural land-scapes?.
  24. TM: All power to them. These areas of enquiry need many people working over many years. So let's hope that this intergenerational attitude you have will lead to greater understanding and know-ledge in the longer term.
  25. TM: Well it was on Mount Taranaki that the 9-year-old boy first learned his botany and the adult formed his understanding of long-term processes. And this brings me to the importance of that botanical knowledge of yours. If larger numbers of people were able to recognise a wider diversity of plants, the capacity and social resilience around restoration would be stronger
  26. TM: And does New Zealand have a unique spin on this because of the high level of integration of Maori culture into New Zealand culture?
  27. TM: Some people might say that a built environment, and a mixture of species from all over the world, is enough. They might say we can survive without indigenous vegetation. What would you say to them?
  28. Biographies
  • Bruce Clarkson is a Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Waikato, New Zealand and heads the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) (University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand; Email: clarkson@waikato.ac.nz; Tel: +64 7 838 4237)

  • Tein McDonald is an editor of Ecological Management & Restoration journal (P.O. Box 42, Woodburn, NSW 2472, Australia; Email: teinm@ozemail.com.au