Wairua farm road

Ecosystem Services

Research & Monitoring – With Descriptor

About the project

‘Ecosystem Services’ are the benefits humans gain from the natural environment and well-functioning ecosystems. These include:

- provisioning services (products obtained e.g. food and timber)

- supporting services (e.g. nutrient cycling and soil formation)

- regulating services (e.g. purification of water, flood control or climate control)

- cultural services (e.g. spiritual enrichment, recreation and aesthetic experiences)

Collectively these benefits are integral to the provision of clean water, the pollination of crops, the economic wellbeing of people and communities, and the social and cultural wellbeing of people and communities.

Living Water commissioned Landcare Research to test the usefulness of an ‘Ecosystem Services Approach’ for project planning and implementation. We wanted to assess whether an ecosystem services approach would better demonstrate to farmers and stakeholders, the value of enhancing native biodiversity (particularly wetlands). This project was carried out in Wairua, Northland.


By demonstrating the value of enhancing native biodiversity this project had the potential to:

  • improve on-farm decision making
  • enhance engagement with catchment groups and stakeholders


  • Project designed in 2015
  • Project delivery January 2016 to June 2017
  • ‘Ecosystem Services’ report identified the most effective farm management practices, financial costs for implementation, and the potential environmental impacts / reductions that could be achieved at a catchment scale in Wairua.

Project Concept and Planning

Completed in 2015

Progress: 100%

Project Implementation

Started in January 2016 and completed in June 2017

Progress: 100%


This project helped identify some priorities for Living Water in the Wairua catchment, but proved to be less useful at a national scale.