Biodiversity loss is the greatest environmental challenge that currently faces New Zealand. Despite our best endeavours, the country’s wealth of endemic species is dwindling away. Under the current trajectory, kiwi will be functionally extinct on the mainland within two generations. In addition to losses on land, we are also facing threats in both the freshwater and marine realms.
Biodiversity loss is an economic challenge, with New Zealand’s natural heritage forming the basis of a burgeoning tourism sector and supporting many of our export industries.
Wild Things will investigate the underlying reasons for biodiversity decline and look constructively at how we might turn it around. The conference will examine how to rebalance the conservation management system, so that it is well funded and better aligned, and can more effectively harness innovation. We will focus on the nexus of biodiversity and development, and how new or improved tools like offsetting might be applied to achieve ‘no net loss’ or even ‘net gain’. We will also look ways to mobilise New Zealanders behind the biodiversity challenge and to overcome the implementation gap.
Wild Things will be a national conversation, amongst all sectors, about the way forward on biodiversity. It will be particularly relevant to agencies involved in biodiversity management (including central government, regional councils and local authorities); iwi/hapū exercising kaitiakitanga over biodiversity; biodiversity-relevant private sector industries (tourism, land development, agriculture, forestry and fishing); biodiversity scientists and resource management professionals; and community groups and individuals involved in biodiversity conservation on the ground.
Biodiversity loss is not inevitable. We have a choice.