The South Island Experiment

The end goal of the Ahi Pepe | MothNet project is to design and run a South Island-wide experiment investigating the question 'Does vegetation restoration restore the ecosystem connections?'.  The field work (2-4 nights trapping) needs to be completed before mid-December 2016.

The intention is that each school will run a 'block' of the national experiment. We will use some time at the workshop to select potential sites near each school. One each of:

  • A vegetation restoration site (i.e the TREATMENT, e.g. a native planting, some of your schools will already be involved in a vegetation restoration project)
  • A mature near-native site (i.e. REFERENCE e.g. a local fragment or reserve of native vegetation)
  • A background site with vegetation similar to the restoration site BEFORE the restoration (i.e. a CONTROL, e.g. the school playing fields)

The important thing is to have three sites (vegetation restoration/treatment, reference/mature-state and background/control) that are as similar as possible in everything (e.g. elevation, aspect, distance to coast) except what we are testing (i.e. the vegetation restoration) there are limits to how similar we can achieve so we cope with this by measuring as many other variables (e.g. temperature, humidity, wind, small mammals) as possible (to quantify the differences) and by replication.

For the workshop it would be to have as many suggestions as you (and the family and friends around your area) can come up with and to bring along whatever information you have on these already (e.g. a photo of the site, exact location and name, size, what the history of the site is).

If your group/community are keen there is nothing to stop your group having more than one block (set of the three sites treatment, reference, control).

Fell free to post pictures of the potential sites here on the face book page. We can't wait to see them. Ask family and friends there is a lot of knowledge out there in the community. Maybe a local farmer has started replanting along a river or creek. Maybe Department of Conservation (NZ) - West Coast​ has a project nearby?

Remember also vegetation restoration comes in many forms. It could be: REPLANTING, Predator control (e.g. TRAPPING, poisoning, fencing); it could be FENCING out stock and letting the site naturally regenerate from a local seed source.