A very important part of FOF's activity is monitoring what we are achieving. All trap catches are entered on a database and monthly reports are produced to show the number of mustelids and rodents caught. We use this information to determine if we need to change trap check frequency.
Throughout Kahurangi NP the abundance of pests is monitored using Tracking Tunnels. Inked cards are placed in these tunnels and as pests run through they get ink on their feet which leave footprints on white card at the ends of the tunnels. The proportion of tunnels with pest prints provides a relative measure of the abundance of the pests. FOF carries out such surveys in the Flora several times a year. This information is used to determine the need for additional pest control.
Masting, when the beech trees produce huge numbers of seed, occurs irregularly and is followed by outbreaks of rodents, with subsequent rise in the numbers of mustelids. DOC monitors beech flowering by collecting flowers from the canopy and FOF monitors seed numbers using funnels that catch the falling seed. This information indicates the need for additional pest control a year in advance.
We also monitor how native biodiversity is faring. We monitor whio breeding success by walking surveys in the Flora and Grecian, we monitor the number of forest birds using a series of 5 minute bird counts and presence/absence counts, the number of Powelliphanta snails in quadrats and the survival of kiwi chicks using nestcams trained on the entrance to nest burrows [e.g. click here ]. All this information is used to determine if our pest control is adequate.
In 2016 we began a programme of monitoring in the alpine zone. Using Tracking Tunnels we have identified the presence of giant weta and geckos that are specialists of this habitat. As we improve the monitoring techniques we are using, we'll use this information to determine if additional action is needed to protect biodiversity in this habitat.