This discussion paper explores the opportunities for, and barriers to, the expansion of native plants on private land. Native plants have spent 80 million years adapting to Aotearoa and are a key to maintaining the ecological health of New Zealand's lands and waters, which underpin the country's social and economic well-being. Reintroducing native plants into working landscapes will also play a role in strengthening New Zealand's 'sense of place', and achieving desired biodiversity outcomes.
The paper explores the opinions of a range of individuals and organisations regarding the role that native plants can have outside of New Zealand's public reserves and parks. A number of case studies highlight the different uses, services and benefits derived from native plants. Examples of these include riparian plantings to improve water quality and soil stability, harvest for medicinal herbal products, and reserves for wildlife and eco-tourism activities.
There are still a number of barriers to the expansion of native plants on private land including:
- a lack of markets for the range of services and products sustainably managed native plants can provide;
- limited research and knowledge to support the ecologically sustainable management of native plants on private land; and,
- individuals and organisations holding entrenched positions about the use of native plants rather than undertaking to explore the issues through open and informed debate.
The aim of the paper is to stimulate thinking and to encourage debate about the uses and services native plants can provide and how this valuable resource should be managed.