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, 8 (12), 452-7

Conservation and Restoration of New Zealand Island Ecosystems

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Conservation and Restoration of New Zealand Island Ecosystems

D R Towns et al. Trends Ecol Evol.

Abstract

An ecological collapse has precipitated pioneering conservation initiatives in New Zealand. Many terrestrial communities in t he New Zealand archipelago have been devastated by over-exploitation, introduced mammals and habitat destruction. More recently, marine ecosystems have been depleted by over-harvesting. To mitigate against these losses, conservation in terrestrial environments has focused on protection of species and habitats. A similar approach is now under way in marine environments with the establishment of 'no-take' marine reserves. On land, conservation is now reaching beyond protection t o the eradication of pests from islands and restoration of their terrestrial ecosystems. Restoration on islands not only reduces threats to rare species; it also raises opportunities to investigate how species interact. In the sea, marine reserves not only enhance the diversity of depleted marine communities; they may also augment stocks of commercially harvested species. These initiatives provide many lessons that could be applied to degraded habitats elsewhere.

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