Tahi Beach, a Long Run Destination located in New Zealand, is to be one of two case study sites for research into the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The research - which has been facilitated by the Zeitz Foundation and will be carried out by Masters Student Jonathan Middendorf - will evaluate the costs of biodiversity loss and the associated decline in ecosystem services worldwide, comparing them with the costs of effective conservation and sustainable use. The study will provide information to guide the activities at the two sites, as well as contribute to the growing global body of knowledge on ecosystems management and the value of ecosystems services.
Middendorf will evaluate two protected areas situated in Northland, on New Zealand’s East coast, from a social and economic perspective. One site is the privately-owned Tahi protected area, whilst the second is a mix of public and private initiatives at Bream Head.
As a first step, the management practices of both conservation initiatives will be investigated to demonstrate whether they are cost-effective. The study will look into implementation, the role played by the public and local authorities, and the skills required to ensure effectiveness.
The evaluation will generate a list of good management practices, define threats and areas for improvement, and highlight the importance of protected areas to the individual and society in general.
Jonathan Middendorf is preparing for his master thesis, the final stage of his bi-national Master´s programme in International Nature Conservation, offered jointly by the University of Göttingen in Germany and Lincoln University in New Zealand.