Having evolved in isolation for 80 million years, New Zealand's natural heritage is radically different from the rest of the world.
Our native plants, animals and wild places are like no others on this planet. Yet it has taken humans less than a thousand years to wipe out a significant amount of this natural heritage.
The burning of forests and tussock grasslands, the introduction of pests, the draining of wetlands, and loss of habitat through development are just some of the major factors that have contributed to more than 50 extinctions.
Nature on land is still in crisis, despite a growing number of initiatives to expand pest control and restore habitats.
Our native plants and animals are continuing to decline across the country, with over 80% of our land-based birds, bats, reptiles and frogs in trouble.
A third of New Zealand’s land is public conservation land, managed by the Department of Conservation. In these areas, nature appears superficially intact, but forests are being degraded by pests, and in many places wildlife is still disappearing.
On private land, native habitat is also continuing to disappear due to pressure from development, leaving tiny, disconnected fragments.
Our soils are deteriorating due to erosion and intensive farming. Diseases such as kauri dieback and myrtle rust are threatening our magnificent native tree species.
Climate change is making all of these problems worse. More severe flood and drought events intensify pressures on our lands, such as erosion, wildfires, and pest invasions.
Forest & Bird is defending nature on land.
Our branches are involved in practical projects to restore nature – trapping predators, removing weeds and planting trees.
We defend nature in the courts and resource management processes.
We advocate for better resourcing for the Department of Conservation so that it can be more effective in protecting our natural heritage.
We are working hard to seek better protection for nature on private land. We can turn around the crisis facing nature on land – but we need your help.