Climate change increases value of native plant

Monday, 21 December 2009, 11:12 am
Press Release: NZ Plant Conservation Network

Climate change increases value of Kiwi native plant

The golden sand sedge – pingao – has won the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network’s 2009 favourite plant poll, and could be a valuable defence against climate change effects.

The pingao topped more than 100 species in the annual poll. Network President Philippa Crisp said that pingao would become increasingly important in combating the effects of climate change, particularly as an increasing number of coastal homes came under threat

“If the global plan to fight climate change stalls and sea level rises occur, pingao will become even more important to New Zealanders because it plays an important role in stabilising sand dunes and creating a beach contour that is not so vulnerable to storm events and sea level rises,” Dr Crisp said. “Pingao may be our only sustainable hope for coastal protection”.

full media release on

Longer breeding season provides new hope for the kiwi

New hope for the kiwi

It might be down to global warming or just a couple of shorter winters on the trot, but whatever the reason, the kiwi breeding season is getting longer – the kiwi bird that is.

That is good news for those working to ensure the survival of the North Island brown kiwi as Ali Ikram found out.

Watch TV3 video

Honda Tree Fund Community Planting Day

Greater Wellington – Mauriceville community planting day

Mauriceville village will be further enhanced next month with the planting of native trees and shrubs during a HondaTree Fund Community Planting Day. The HondaTree Fund has provided the funding to purchase 300 trees and shrubs for this year’s event along with mulch and fertiliser.

The event has been organised to infill the areas planted during last year’s inaugural community planting day when 1000 native trees and shrubs were planted. more

Research looks at native trees, carbon emissions

Scoop: Research looks at native trees, carbon emissions

rimu and miro in the whakatikei river valley

rimu and miro in the whakatikei river valley

Are our native trees adding to or reducing New Zealand’s carbon emissions? That’s the question Rotorua scientists are hoping to answer with one of their current research projects.

Two projects investigating native trees and carbon emissions are underway at Ensis, the unincorporated joint venture between Crown Research Institute Scion in Rotorua, and Australia’s CSIRO.

Dr Peter Beets, senior scientist at Ensis, is leading a research programme looking at developing tools to predict native tree carbon emissions. “Our aim is to work out the amount of carbon that is being absorbed by living trees and the amount of carbon that is being released when trees die and decay.

“We hope to find out if native trees actually reduce the country’s overall emissions at all, or if the emissions the trees make just cancels any benefit,” Dr Beets says.

Takahe leave island for mountain homeland

Scoop: Takahe leave island for mountain homeland

The flightless takahe, the largest living member of the rail family, was rediscovered in the Murchison Mountains in 1948. DOC’s work to recover the species has been focussed on establishing self-sustaining populations in Fiordland and on predator-free islands. Since the late 1980s DOC has been managing takahe nests to boost chick production. The population in Fiordland is about 170 birds…. more

Perspective | Futility Closet

Perspective | Futility Closet

click on image to go to original blog posting

Earth seen from 4 billion miles away, photographed by Voyager 1 on June 6, 1990

Of the “pale blue dot,” astronomer Carl Sagan said, “That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

Global warming could wipe out most birds: WWF

Global warming could wipe out most birds: WWF | Top News |

By Daniel Wallis

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Unchecked climate change
could drive up to 72 per cent of the world’s bird species into
extinction but the world still has a chance to limit the losses,
conservation group WWF said in a report on Tuesday.

migratory insect-eaters to tropical honeycreepers and cold water
penguins, birds are highly sensitive to changing weather conditions and
many are already being affected badly by global warming, the new study

“Birds are the quintessential ‘canaries in the coal mine’
and are already responding to current levels of climate change,” said
the report, launched at a United Nations conference in Kenya on ways to
slow warming.

“Birds now indicate that global warming has set in motion a powerful chain of effects in ecosystems worldwide,” WWF said.

evidence demonstrates that climate change is affecting birds’ behavior
— with some migratory birds even failing to migrate at all.”

the future, it said, unchecked warming could put large numbers of
species at risk, with estimates of extinction rates as high as 72 per
cent, “depending on the region, climate scenario and potential for
birds to shift to new habitats”.

It said the “more extreme
scenarios” of extinctions could be prevented if tough climate
protection targets were enforced and greenhouse gas emissions cut to
keep global warming increases to less than 2 degrees C (1.6 F) above
pre-industrial levels.

Already in decline in Europe and the
United States, many migratory birds were now missing out on vital food
stocks that are appearing earlier and earlier due to global warming,
widely blamed by scientists on emissions from burning fossil fuels

In Canada’s northern Hudson Bay, the report said, mosquitoes were
hatching and reaching peak numbers earlier in the spring, but seabirds
breeding there had not adjusted their behavior.

In the
Netherlands, it added, a similar mismatch had led to the decline of up
to 90 per cent in some populations of pied flycatchers over the last
two decades.


Predicted rising temperatures
could see Europe’s Mediterranean coastal wetlands — critical habitats
for migratory birds — completely destroyed by the 2080s, it said.

Rising temperatures were also seen having disastrous impacts on non-migratory species, as their habitat ranges shifted.

centers of species richness for birds are currently located in
protected areas, from which birds may be forced by climatic changes
into unprotected zones,” the report said.

“Island and mountain birds may simply have nowhere to go.”

the U.S., unabated warming was seen cutting bird species by nearly a
third in the eastern Midwest and Great Lakes, while almost
three-quarters of rainforest birds in Australia’s northeastern Wet
Tropics were at risk of being wiped out.

“In Europe, the
endangered Spanish imperial eagle, currently found mainly in natural
reserves and parks, is expected to lose its entire current range,”
WWF’s report said.

Also at high risk were eight species of
brightly colored Hawaiian honeycreeper, Galapagos Islands penguins and
the Scottish capercaillie — the world’s biggest grouse — which WWF
said could lose 99 per cent of its habitat because of warming.

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