Healthy Ecosystem

What is an Ecosystem?

An ecosystem is a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscapes, work together to form a bubble of life. Human impact is by far the greatest threat to the functioning of normal ecological processes.

Our alpine freshwater ecosystems rely on clean water to thrive. The new NPS-FM recognises five components of ecosystem health that must be managed and reported on:

  1. Water quality (chemical, physical, biological)
  2. Water quantity (water flows and levels)
  3. Physical habitat (available for plants and animals)
  4. Aquatic life (animals, plants and algae present)
  5. Functioning ecosystem (interactions between them all)

Water supports our unique ecosystems

New Zealand is home to all kinds of unique ecosystems containing plants and animals that are found nowhere else in the world. Many of these ecosystems have freshwater – lakes, rivers, or wetlands – at their heart. Without healthy freshwater environments, many of our unique taonga such as fish, birds, and plants wouldn’t be able to survive.

Related links: Action for Healthy Waterways | Why Freshwater matters | Freshwater Report 2020

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