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Key ecological sites of Hamilton City: Volume 1

Ecological sites of significance previously identified in 2000 were reviewed in 2011. Natural vegetation in areas acquired by the city since 2000 was also surveyed to identify any new key sites. In total seventy key sites that met the Waikato Regional Council Regional Policy Statement criteria for ecological significance were identified across Hamilton City. Of the original key sites, the total area covered by sites, average site size and overall quality of sites had increased between the 2000 and 2011 surveys. This was due to restoration efforts across the city by Hamilton City Council and the community. Vegetation restoration efforts have had other biodiversity and ecological benefits such as providing additional habitat for the city’s increasing tui population. Key sites are not spread evenly across the city or across landform types. Most key sites are either in gullies or adjoining the Waikato River. Less than 1% of urban alluvial plains and peat bogs are key sites. Two sites on private land have degraded and no longer meet the ecological significance criteria in 2011. The current survey utilised a standard methodology focused on vegetation types. There will be other significant sites not identified including sites with significant fauna values but a detailed and costly survey would be required to identify all such sites. The 1.5% of the city area covered by key sites is well below the 10% minimum recommended to prevent biodiversity decline in urban areas. Areas where vegetation restoration has begun in the city have the potential to expand existing key sites or develop new sites if council and community efforts continue in the future. The Council and its restoration partners should continue to seek ways of increasing native vegetation cover in Hamilton City and restoration of the distinctive gully landform remains the best option.
Commissioned Report for External Body
Type of thesis
Cornes, T.S., Thomson, R.E. & Clarkson, B.D. (2012). Key ecological sites of Hamilton City: Volume 1. CBER Contract Report No. 121, prepared for Hamilton City Council. Hamilton, New Zealand: Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research, The University of Waikato.
Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research, The University of Waikato