The 2020 NZBI Scholorship
Category: National. Posted: 11 May 2021
The winner of the 2020 NZBI Scholarship is Britney Ford. She is studying towards a Master of Environmental Management at Massey University. For her thesis, Britney will undertake a catchment-based study to understand what is needed for landowners in the Motu River catchment which spans the Gisborne and Bay of Plenty regions, to protect and enhance biodiversity, including plant and animal pest control measures. The thesis will be broken down into three parts:
The current state of biodiversity
Britney plans to assess the current state of biodiversity in the Motu River catchment. This will be done by mapping the catchment and creating a spatial/ecological mosaic of the state of existing biodiversity and animal and plant pests.
Britney will conduct interviews with landowners and other stakeholders in the catchment to understand what barriers may be stopping them from protecting and enhancing the volumes and diversity of biodiversity. Landowners will also be questioned about what they feel they need in order to effectively enhance and protect biodiversity through plant and animal pest control.
What is needed to encourage landowners
Based on the interviews, Britney plans to determine what is needed for landowners and stakeholders in the catchment to enhance the volume and function of biodiversity (e.g. is it financial incentives, improved knowledge), and based on the spatial mosaic, determine what would be the most effective way to enhance biodiversity in the catchment. This will involve a targeted and specific recommendation around what is needed including plant and animal pest control options, and the most effective and efficient way to implement them.
Britney’s study is relevant to the objectives of the New Zealand biosecurity institute as it will shed light on what is needed to encourage private land owners to get involved in working together to ensure New Zealand is protected from the adverse impacts of invasive species.
“My thesis will be able to assist in the creation of targeted programmes and incentives that can encourage private land owners to undertake plant and animal pest control regimes on their land,” Britney said.