New tool for rating residential garden biodiversity

Residential properties contribute significantly to urban biodiversity, and residential property certification schemes can inform and incentivise householders to enhance native biodiversity on their properties, but the certification process requires a robust evaluation tool. 

Our principal ecologist, Mike Thorsen, has been working with a team of talented folk from around Aotearoa, to develop and test a method for assessing and rating the biodiversity of residential properties.

The method accounts for habitat extent, quality, connectivity and management practices, and performed well when trialled on 89 properties in Te Wai Pounamu, the South Island.

A Residential Property Star rating system, using this method, could be adopted by local government, housing developers, or community groups and NGOs, to incentivise homeowners to enhance and sustain backyard biodiversity, to track trends in urban biodiversity, and to help meet regional and national biodiversity strategic goals.

Details of the method and results are published in the peer-reviewed journal Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol 232, April 2023, A rapid assessment technique for evaluating biodiversity to support accreditation of residential properties (article 104682).

Want to understand more about it? Please contact Mike Thorsen.

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