A lot of my research at Te Papa – describing new species, distinguishing and mapping different species, and determining how populations and species are related to one another – supports conservation management. But my job does not often make an active and direct contribution to keeping things alive.
So I was thrilled recently to play a small part in helping a very threatened population. Especially as it was a species I have a special interest in: fierce lancewood (Pseudopanax ferox).
Fortunately, Viv McGlynn (formerly of DoC) initiated supplemental planting, with support from Henry Dorrian. Seed was collected from the Taihape trees and grown by Douglas Gordon of Palmerston City Council. During a recent weekend, I joined Viv and other members of the Manawatu Botanical Society in planting 27 of Viv and Douglas’s seedlings into the Taihape population. This gives the population a bit of bulk, and increases its chances of long-term survival. We were also pleased to discover two self-sown seedlings in the immediate vicinity.
I think this is a great example of agencies and organisations working together to achieve a positive conservation outcome, albeit driven by individual initiative and good-will.