Having evolved in isolation for 80 million years, New Zealand has forged an evolutionary path that is radically different from the rest of the world.
Our native plants, animals and wild places are like no others on this planet.
In February 2000, the NZ Government launched the Biodiversity Strategy with the intent of halting the decline of our indigenous biodiversity. $187 million dollars was earmarked for the project over a 5 year period. At the end of this 5 year plan, 35% of programmes recorded significant progress, and 23% recorded moderate progress, however 77% of NZ's threatened species lacked targeted recovery plans. Around 3000 species of native wildlife are now threatened, with only 200 having any kind of management for protection.
Despite the fact that our country was the last major habitable land mass to be occupied by humans, it has taken us less than 800 years to wipe out a significant amount of this unique evolutionary history.
The burning & logging of ancient forests, the introduction of pests and the loss of habitat through urbanisation and development are just some of the major factors that have contributed to more than 50 extinctions in the past 500 years.
It is too late to bring back the moa or any other extinct species, but we can help our unique native species that still struggle to survive. They’re ours. Let’s not lose them.
Native Plants and Animals
The tuatara, kiwi, kokako, saddleback, kakapo, native frogs and giant carnivorous land snails are just some of the species that are uniquely ours. Since our formation in 1923, Forest & Bird has played a vital role in turning around their precarious situation.
Our freshwater systems and their inhabitants are under significant strain from agricultural runoff, urban and industrial discharges, hydro dams and irrigation. Find out what Forest & Bird is doing to help save our freshwater species, such as the blue duck, from these threats.
The home of native tussock, rare native brooms, mountain grasshoppers, scree skinks, kea, rock wrens and the alpine weta, our iconic high country is integral to our identity as New Zealanders. Forest & Bird is working to ensure that we protect it for future generations to enjoy.
Threats & Impacts
Having battled ice-ages, mass extinctions and volcanic eruptions, our native species were completely unprepared for the destructive impact of humans and the predators they brought with them. If we better understand these threats and impacts, we can better protect our native animals and plants.
Climate change is predicted to have a serious impact on our plants and animals – if we don’t act now up to one third of the world’s land-based species could be extinct in 50 years. Tuatara, albatrosses and bats are just some of the species that may be severely affected.
Marine and Coastal
As guardians of an ocean area that is 15 times the size of our landmass, New Zealanders have a responsibility to protect our diverse marine-life. Our sea-lions, sharks and Hector’s and Maui's dolphins are just some of the marine species that Forest & Bird is helping to protect.