Written by Dr Colin O'Donnell.

2.0 Protection of Significant Habitats for Indigenous Fauna

Many of the forests in the North Westland beech area can easily be termed as significant habitats for indigenous fauna under the criteria of the RMA (BSM, p6).

TWCL forests support significant populations of 24 indigenous forest birds including six nationally threatened and two regionally threatened species, two threatened bats and several threatened fish species. For example, the Maruia working circle contains significant populations of national importance of at least eight threatened forest species, long-tailed bat, yellow-crowned parakeet, kaka, falcon, blue duck, NZ pigeon, weka, and kea. Parakeet (and robin) numbers were higher than in most other areas surveyed in Westland (MSMP, p 28). Therefore, ensuring the sustainability of these populations should be paramount when setting harvesting limits for sustainable forest management.

Birds such as kaka, and long-tailed bats, have been declining steadily throughout the country, and all habitats where they occur should be considered key sites for their recovery. Many of the important populations tend to be concentrated in the lower-altitude forests.

(See comment 1) Threatened species tend to be those least able to cope with changes in their habitat brought about by predation and competition with introduced mammals, and modification or loss of habitat.  

TWCL imply that threatened bird species only "might" be regarded as specialised in their habitat requirements (BSM, p. 70).

(See comment 2) There is no doubt that these species do have specialised food and nesting requirements which need to be met.

(See comment 3) Those species that are already rare are the most likely to decline if remaining habitats are further modified.