NZFM has carried out a number of fauna surveys to identify the indigenous species present within the certified forests. The results are as follows:
Blue Duck in Lake Taupo Forest
The Whio Protection Project has been established on the Waimarino River. This project has been supported by the CNI Blue Duck Chartiable Trust, the Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Fund, and Waikato Regional Council’s Environmental Initiative Fund.
The project involves intensive predator control along the banks of the river during the breeding and nesting season for whio (September – February) and an annual population survey. In total, 16 km of the river bank is controlled using trap lines.
The number of breeding pairs on the river has fluctuated between 11 – 16 since the beginning of the project, but of note is that approximately 70 ducklings have been fledged during the project, with another 42-odd expected from the 2018/19 breeding season.
Kiwi in Rotoaira Forest
The results of this survey indicate that kiwi may be present within the vicinity of the sites surveyed. Kiwi were not conclusively recorded in plantation forest, but could be present at some locations. No management recommendations are made within this report due to the inconclusive survey results. Further survey work may be required within possible kiwi habitat.
Fish in Rotoaira Forest
This survey has added the following species to the total fauna inventory for Rotoaira Forest : Koaro Galaxias brevipinnis, Rainbow Trout Salmo gairdnerii, Koura Paranephrops spp, and Common Bully Gobiomorphus cotidianus.
One of these species, the koaro, has a high conservation value worthy of habitat protection. The survey recommended that the existing riparian management policy be maintained. It was also recommended that the current amount and condition of riparian stream protection
is more than sufficient to provide refuge habitat, but needs to be maintained on all streams.
A population of the rare native plant Pittosporum turnerii is also present within Rotoaira Forest. In conjunction with the Tongariro/Taupo Conservancy of the Department of Conservation (DOC), NZFM have an active management plan in place for the population. The plan includes a 10-year management time-line outlining tasks for effective management, such as possum browse monitoring and predator control where required. The conservation outcome of the plan is to allow Pittosporum turnerii to remain healthy and continue to flower and produce seed.
Bats in Lake Taupo and Rotoaira Forests
Lake Taupo and Rotoaira Forests: ABM’s (Automatic Bat Monitors) were used to survey for the presence of native bats within Lake Taupo and Rotoaira Forests. Within Lake Taupo Forest eight sites were surveyed, four short-tail bat and four long-tail bat sites. Short-tailed bats were found at one of the sites and long tailed bats were found at three of the sites. Within Rotoaira Forest twenty sites were surveyed, nine short tail sites and eleven long-tail sites. Short-tailed bats were found at one of the sites and long tailed bats were found at nine of the sites.
The results of the surveys support the recommendation that retention and protection of all natural areas, particularly old growth native forest, riparian margins and wetland areas, is vital to the conservation of threatened endemic bat species in Lake Taupo and Rotoaira Forest .
A population of Dacylanthus taylorii plants exists in Rotoaira Forest. NZFM are managing the population in an attempt to conserve the population. Dactylanthus taylorii, commonly known as NZ wood rose, is a native, fully parasitic plant that grows on the roots of certain trees. The host tree responds to the presence of D.taylorii by forming a burl-like structure that resembles a fluted wooden rose (hence the common name). D.taylorii is threatened by browsing of possums, rats, pigs and deer, as well as habitat lost and the rarity of its pollinators and seed dispersers.
Within the forest, a large number of individual plants are caged to protect the plants from predators and with the help of funding from the Biodiversity Condition Fund, NZFM erected a predator exclusion fence around a population of D.taylorii with young host tree species. The aim of the fence is to eliminate predators from the area to allow the population to grow.