Volunteer-led pest control has been underway in Aongatete Forest since 2007. Anecdotal evidence indicates that this work has had a noticeable impact on the number and variety of birds that call the forest home, especially in the last five or six years.

Now, a new report backs up our trust’s observations. Bird counts, professionally carried out in 50 locations in our forest and at 41 locations in control sites to the north of Aongatete, reveal that there are definitely (statistically valid!) more birds in the pest-managed forest.

Results showed significantly higher counts of seven bird species in Aongatete which notably included kererū, tui, and titipounamu. Comparisons of total bird counts showed that Aongatete had significantly higher numbers, indicating higher bird abundance overall as well as higher native bird abundance.

Having scientifically robust data that can be used as a baseline for future monitoring supports the thousands of hours that our volunteers pour into the project every year.

This evidence reinforces our mission: to showcase what the Kaimai Mamaku would be with widespread pest control. Small patches of volunteer-protected bush are clearly crucial reservoirs for our endemic species, but we continue our call for more landscape-scale conservation measures from central government.

We sincerely thank the Bay of Plenty Regional Council for commissioning this report.