This indicator provides information on the health of forest ecosystems through the number of native forest-associated species. Knowledge of the number of native forest-associated species highlights the importance of certain forest types in meeting conservation objectives and in understanding the relationships species have within ecosystems. The loss or addition of species in an ecosystem can provide valuable insights into the overall health and productivity of that system.
New Zealand’s indigenous forests are characterised by a high degree of endemism. Human settlement introduced a large number of exotic plant and animal species, many of which have had detrimental effects on the indigenous biota. Over the last decade, the Department of Conservation (DOC) has developed a National Biodiversity Monitoring and Reporting Programme to assess whether the ecological integrity of public conservation lands is being maintained.
While the major biodiversity losses associated with early human settlement have been stemmed, indigenous biodiversity has continued to decline over the last century.