Looking Back for the Future: Local Knowledge and Paleoecology Inform Biocultural Restoration of Coastal Ecosystems in New Zealand
Lyver, Philip O'B; Wilmshurst, Janet; Wood, Jamie; Jones, Christopher J; Fromont, Mairie; Bellingham, Peter J; Stone, Clive; Sheehan, Michael
We combine local knowledge of elders and environmental practitioners from two indigenous Māori communities and pollen evidence in soil cores from two islands and two mainland coastal sites to inform the planning of coastal ecosystem restoration initiatives in New Zealand. The Māori participants desired ecosystems that delivered cultural (e.g., support for identity), social (e.g., knowledge transfer), economic (e.g., agroecology) and environmental (e.g., biodiversity protection) outcomes to their communities. Pollen records identified three periods when vegetation was dominated by different taxa: (1) Pre-human (<AD c.1280) – forest dominated by native conifers, angiosperms and nīkau palm (Rhopalostylis sapida); (2) Māori settlement (AD c.1280–1770) – scrub and bracken fern (Pteridium esculentum); and (3) European settlement (post-1770) – Metrosideros excelsa forest with harakeke (Phormium sp.), raupō (Typha orientalis), grasses (Poaceae), exotic plantation conifers (Pinaceae), and agricultural weeds. A fourth, aspirational system that integrated human activities such as agriculture and horticulture with native forest was conceptualized. Our approach emphasizes the importance of placing humans within nature and the reciprocity of environmental and social well-being.
Publisher: Springer Science+Business Media New York
Keywords: Biocultural restoration; biodiversity; ecosystem states; Maori; pollen; New Zealand
Research Type: Journal Article