People should take part in the Department of Conservation's biodiversity questionnaire writes Federated Farmers regional policy advisor Dr Lisa Harper.
The government is reviewing the National Biodiversity Strategy and is calling for New Zealanders to have their say on how nature is managed for the next 20 years.
Biodiversity is the natural variety of all living things and the ecosystems that support them.
We live in a hot spot for biodiversity; New Zealand has a wealth of rare and unusual species, with many found nowhere else on earth.
The current Biodiversity Strategy is about to expire, with its goals and action plans running out in 2020. The strategy acts as a guide to government departments, councils and anyone interested in conservation.
Its function is to provide a framework for the protection and sustainable management of New Zealand's biodiversity.
Read more from Federated Farmers here.
Having a strategy is also part of our international commitments under the Convention of Biological Diversity.
The current strategy includes goals such as encouraging the public in their conservation efforts, strengthening partnerships between iwi and government agencies in conservation, and restoring native habitats.
The strategy's main focus is the management of our unique indigenous biodiversity, but all biodiversity is important.
One goal of the current strategy is conserving the genetic diversity of important introduced species.
There are some species that are threatened in their home countries, but we may have them here.
Our economy is also built on introduced species like sheep, cattle, kiwifruit, apples and pine trees.
Conserving the genetic diversity of the species we depend on for food and shelter is a part (although a minor part) of the strategy. In the past, this has been done through preserving genetic material in national seedbanks and the like.
The Department of Conservation is asking us all to let them know how we feel about biodiversity - what it means to you, why it matters, and what you want them to achieve in the future.
This will help them develop the new Biodiversity Strategy, due to be completed by December 2019.
You can find a link to the short questionnaire on DOC's website.
It's open until February 28. The draft Strategy will be out for public submissions in April-May.