The Hinewai Reserve is a privately owned nature regeneration project which covers 1,250 hectares and focuses on the natural restoration of endemic plants and animals.
The reserve was initially marginal farmland which contained remnant of old growth forest, with the first purchase of 109 hectares of land occurring in 1987 by the Maurice White Native Forest Trust. As the reserve grew to its full size they utilized a natural regeneration technique with limited interventions to bring back native vegetation and wildlife alongside the 50 hectares of old growth forest the reserve protects. Non-native species which seriously impeded this natural regeneration were removed (such as feral goats which were eliminated from the reserve in 1999), but other species were left such as non-native gorse. Gorse which is widely seen as an agricultural pest in New Zealand, but the land managers found that its thorny branches and nitrogen fixing properties allowed it to protect native tree saplings until they grew large enough to eventually shade-out and kill the gorse. The scale of forest regeneration on the land have allowed the reserve to enter the emissions trading scheme.
Overview of context and outcomes:
The reserve is located near the township of Akaroa and includes a network of walking trails which are open to public used. The managers of the Hinewai Reserve have also overseen the adjacent 192 hectare Purple Peak Curry Reserve which was purchased by the New Zealand Native Forest Restoration Trust in 2016.
The natural forest regeneration helps sequester carbon within the landscape. The Hinewai Reserve reportedly generates $100,000 worth of carbon credits annually from this restoration.
The natural regeneration on what was previously marginal farmlands is reportedly predicted to reduce soil erosion. This is important due to the reserves location on a peninsula where it is more vulnerable to intensified weather and sea level rise. Furthermore, this reportedly protects nearby salt marshes and seaweed beds from additional terrestrial run-off.
The project has reportedly increased habitat quality and species diversity. There are reports of of more than 330 species of native vascular plants including more than 60 species of fern which are growing within the reserve. It is reported that the reserve also supports a diverse array of native birds, reptiles, invertebrates, mosses, liverworts, fungi, algae, and lichens.
The Hinewai Reserve acts as an important regional recreation site with a network of trails running throughout the landscape. It is also reported that the landscape helps purify water which is utilized as drinking water by the local Akaroa township.
The reserve is privately owned and managed by the Maurice White Native Forest Trust.
The trust is privately financed with donations and volunteers helping manage the landscape and the trust earning an average annual revenue of $100,000 from carbon credits sold through the emissions trading scheme.
There is no reported evidence of a robust monitoring and evaluation framework is in place, however the reported results indicate previous surveys have taken place.
No information yet available on tradeoffs.