The colonization of New Zealand impacted not only the indigenous population, the Maori, but also had devastated all endemic ecosystems. The outcomes of centuries of ecological upheavals has been one of the world’s largest rates of species, as birds, extinction. As an island, there is a high percentage of indigenous species and more than 1000 of them are currently threatened. New Zealand has local bees that need to be protected.
To avoid native species extinction and to preserve New Zealand’s ecosystem, the government has one of the strictest pest control policy of the world. One of its programs is the most ambitious conservative project in the planet: the eradication of all invasive mammals for 2050.
With the growth of urban zones, the conservation and the rehabilitation of native species is a challenge tackled by cities and their inhabitants. We met one of these committed citizens, Andrea, who has the aim of making Auckland friendlier for pollinators.
Andrea wishes that one day New Zealand cities will be covered in a network of green pathways that make urban landscapes a friendlier place to live for endemic species.
During her final year of landscape architecture degree, Andrea turned the idea into a research project, then into a concrete citizen project with some support from the Auckland city Council.
Andrea selected a grassy zone in Auckland and, with the help of the whole neighborhood, transformed it into a first pollinators habitat. The aim is to set up an attractive zone for all native pollinators (wild bees, bats, endemic lizards…) by planting local herbs, building small habitats with pile of sticks and logs.
Two years on, the pollinators paths are almost self-regulated and is doing its suppressing weeds! It is also an attractive area for local kids to learn and discover this ecosystem.
This citizen project took lot of personal time to Andrea, and she had to manage it as a project side of her proper job. It was a complicated process to prove the efficiency of this kind of initiative for pollinators and to change habits. For example, one of the local stakeholders, transport authorities are not keen on any planting that might interfere with traffic sightlines.
The biggest problem bears on who should be responsible for on going maintenance, because for now all is on the shoulders of Andrea.
WHAT NOW ?
Today, the first pollinators pathway is well integrated in the urban landscape and benefited the local community. Nevertheless, the current situation of Andrea to have the sole responsibility is not sustainable and the project is on stand by until all maintenance issues are tackled by public authorities. This means getting sponsor to fund the parks, families to adopt them, or the council to take on the responsibility.
In lot of cities emerge beehives on roofs, to collect honey with domestic bees. The initiative of Andrea extends the scale of the preservation to wild bees. Indeed, these types of bees are essential for the conservation of our ecosystems and doing a complementary job to the domestic ones.
Using existing parks, reserves, roadsides berms, private garden, and business premises to create wildlife corridors so that all pollinators can move around the city as easily as we do!