Steve Urlich

Steve Urlich
Lincoln University New Zealand · Department of Environmental Management

PhD

About

64
Publications
7,811
Reads
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206
Citations

Publications

Publications (64)
Article
Full-text available
Identifying barriers to the effective use of science in coastal management of Aotearoa-New Zealand is easy, due to the present lack of complicated governance and management structures, coupled with an emphasis on funding science that includes pathways to implementation. This opinion piece discusses four areas that still hinder effective use of scie...
Article
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In the face of declining ocean health and marine biodiversity, marine management arrangements may need to change in many jurisdictions. This can occur in a planned process of legislative and institutional reform undertaken by central government, or by an incremental and ad hoc ‘unplanned’ process through court decisions or local actions. In either...
Article
Many estuaries are squeezed between sea-level rise, coastal hardening and adverse cumulative effects from unsustainable catchment activities. In Aotearoa New Zealand, there is little planning to provide future accommodation space for estuaries. A complex knot of policies and plans, and accompanying poor implementation also affect ecological sustain...
Presentation
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You know that your environmental management has hit rock-bottom when it comes to the attention of renowned Stuff cartoonist Tom Scott. William Shatner, aka Captain James T. Kirk, is depicted floating in space, lamenting the state of the Marlborough Sounds on his recent trip into orbit. The cartoon followed a scientific report to Marlborough Distri...
Article
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Over 200 years ago, the renowned scientist and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt drew attention to the effects of deforestation on soil erosion, sedimentation of waterways, and its disruptive effects on climate. Travelling through Venezuela in search of the source of the Orinoco River, Humboldt’s description of land use practices is eerily reminis...
Preprint
There remains uncertainty about the legal and policy tools, processes and institutions needed to support ecosystem-based marine management (EBM). This article relies on an interdisciplinary study of ecosystem-based language and approaches in the laws and policies of New Zealand, Australia and Chile, which uncovered important lessons for implementin...
Presentation
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What if I told you that we could absorb carbon over millions of hectares by simply doing nothing? What if I said that doing nothing would also restore a range of biodiverse habitats in these areas? Would you believe me if I mentioned that doing nothing would protect massive carbon stores? Could I persuade you that the science journal Nature recentl...
Article
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There remains uncertainty about the legal and policy tools, processes and institutions needed to support ecosystem-based marine management (EBM). This article relies on an interdisciplinary study of ecosystem-based language and approaches in the laws and policies of New Zealand, Australia and Chile, which uncovered important lessons for implementin...
Article
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In the 1974 best-seller Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the narrator tied himself up in philosophical and existential knots trying to define “quality”. The proposed Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA) offers the opportunity for resource practitioners to promote environmental “quality”, presumably with less angst and more clarity. T...
Technical Report
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Brooklands Lagoon / Te Riu o Te Aika Kawa (‘Brooklands’) is an important wetland and estuarine ecosystem in Canterbury. It is a site of cultural significance to Ngāi Tūāhuriri, and is also valued by the wider community. Home to an array of life, it is connected to the Pūharakekenui/Styx and Waimakariri rivers, and is part of a wetland landscape com...
Article
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Aotearoa New Zealand's environmental management has long been considered shortsighted and focused on economic development over environmental, cultural or social imperatives. Tourism contributes to those pressures on our environments and communities. While Mäori have always been involved in tourism, there is a concerted movement by many Mäori toward...
Article
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The harvesting of radiata pine (Pinus radiata) plantations in the Pelorus/Te Hoiere catchment and the Marlborough Sounds is contributing to excessive sedimentation into coastal waters, although the timing of when this commenced is subject to debate. Here we present a history of radiata pine to document trends in forest establishment in the Pelorus/...
Presentation
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In her poem ‘The Uprising’ about the ocean, Kiwi poet Dinah Hawken evokes both its beauty and mystery: “It shows up outside my window and, though spell-bound and moon-bound, is unbound with a swell and momentum of its own.” Hawken also laments the ocean as an ‘open sewer’ for our collective indifference and neglect, as much of our ‘blue’ economi...
Presentation
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Bob Marley famously once sang: If you know your history, then you would know where you coming from. It has been 250 years since the Endeavour entered Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui. Niwa marine ecologist Dr Sean Handley and I were curious to know what the Marlborough Sounds ecosystems were like then, how the land and marine environments have cha...
Article
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Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is a potential antidote to the alleviation of multiple stressors in highly-valued and contested marine environments. An understanding of the magnitude and drivers of past ecosystem changes can inform the development of realistic ecological and social outcomes for different places. These goals should aim to increase...
Presentation
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A new approach to forestry in the Marlborough Sounds “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise” wrote the American forester and ecologist Aldo Leopold in 1949. Leopold saw the land and people as part of the same community, a concept familiar to tangat...
Article
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Soil disturbance associated with earthworks and harvesting of radiata pine (Pinus radiata) has caused erosion and runoff into the coastal waters of the Marlborough Sounds (the Sounds) and resulted in excessive deposition of fine sediment onto estuarine and subtidal benthic habitats. Ecological consequences have included habitat damage and species l...
Technical Report
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The Pelorus/Te Hoiere was announced as an ‘Exemplar catchment’ for the purposes of restoration, by the Minister of Conservation in late 2019. The catchment restoration project is to be managed by the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Alliance (the ‘Kotahitanga Alliance’) as a partnership with the local community. The Kotahitanga Alliance was formed to collab...
Article
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The recent Court of Appeal decision in Attorney-General v The Trustees of the Motiti Rohe Moana Trust ([2019] NZCA 532) has wide-ranging implications for managing the sustained pressures on biodiversity in coastal ecosystems. The Motiti decision signals a profound change in the way in which regional councils will need to manage the territorial sea...
Presentation
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Our big blue backyard is in trouble and it needs our help. Just as this understanding is surfacing, so too is awareness that our survival depends the ocean’s health. The need to transform how we interact with nature has hit us like an unexpected whirlpool. Now billions are being spent to try to return us to where we were before the virus. That is n...
Presentation
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How much money did we put towards understanding and better managing the moana in the 2020 Budget? Pretty much close to zero. A century of over-exploitation, global warming, and decades of under-investment in the knowledge infrastructure to support wise management, has all contributed to an unfolding crisis. Many seabirds and marine mammals are on...
Presentation
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The Marlborough Sounds are one of those special parts of our country. However, the Marlborough District Council no longer considers it as the region’s “jewel in the crown”, having recently decided to delete that description from the Marlborough Environment Plan. The Plan was unveiled last month as the ‘blueprint’ for sustainable management of Marl...
Article
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Aotearoa New Zealand's population has grown rapidly from 3.85 million in 2000, to 5 million in 2020. Ethnic diversity has consequently increased. Territorial Authorities (TAs) undertaking statutory consultation and wider public engagement processes need to respond to increased diversity and foster inclusivity. Inclusivity is necessary to facilitate...
Technical Report
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This document provides consistent and clear guidance for monitoring and managing water column effects of salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds (NZ). The protocol for conducting water column monitoring, as well as the compliance framework are based around an agreed set of environmental quality standards (EQS). This is a living document that is revi...
Presentation
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A newly released discussion document has set the scene for a crucial conversation of which Kiwis have the opportunity to be part. It's about a shared vision for our biodiversity, which we depend on for our wellbeing, livelihoods and survival. The Department of Conservation has released the discussion document for a new Biodiversity Strategy: Te Koi...
Presentation
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The recent declarations of a climate emergency convey the sense of urgency to safeguard our human world. However, there has been a habitat emergency unfolding for many decades in the natural world. We may be more critically affected by habitat decline now than we are by climate change, yet the two are inextricably linked, and we cannot have an ‘em...
Presentation
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When Greta Thunberg undertook her solo vigil outside the Swedish Parliament, she highlighted the failure of my generation. Her demand for meaningful action on climate change has come to symbolise that we are collectively letting down our youth, and those that follow. Here, in our place, the Easter release of Environment Aotearoa 2019 has unsurprisi...
Article
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Presents a new Marine Guardians governance model that would more effectively integrate management responsibilities, and lead to greater regional marine protection in a short time period. Advances a legislative framework that can be easily adapted to other regions, and provides local control over marine management under national oversight for consis...
Presentation
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Conservation in New Zealand is at a crossroads. Threatened species continue to face extinction. There are also serious social issues around poison drops in forests. A new approach is needed to resolve these conundrums. Recently I discussed possible paths we could take to preserve our biological treasures in the NZ Journal of Ecology (http://newzea...
Presentation
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In 2012, Sir David Attenborough, reflecting on 60 years of natural history film making, said; “For me, as for countless others, the natural world is the greatest of all treasures. And yet, in my lifetime, we have damaged it more severely than in the whole of human history.” Sir David’s observations apply wherever human activity is focused on extra...
Article
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Examines what is meant by maintaining biodiversity in the NZ legislative context. Identifies issues with contradictory definitions of biodiversity between different acts of parliament. Suggests solutions
Article
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Examines why biodiversity continues to decline 25 years after the Rio Earth Summit. Identifies adequate policy base but systemic institutional failure. Suggests solutions,
Presentation
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Examines the social, political and environmental challenges associated with Predator-Free New Zealand, and calls for a Royal Commission on the future of New Zealand’s biodiversity.
Article
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Our marine environment is under pressure. In October 2016, the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and Statistics New Zealand published a sobering assessment of habitat damage and destruction, numerous threatened seabird and marine mammal species, and significant changes to the physical and chemical properties of our oceans driven by climate change...
Presentation
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Reviews scale of seabed disturbance to benthic ecosystems using data from the New Zealand government’s 2016 official state of the marine environment publication. http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/89519821/opinion-new-zealands-own-amazonscale-environmental-crisis
Book
Full-text available
This State of the Environment Report provides a snapshot of how well we are doing as a region. The report looks at the pressure on different resources, the response from Council and the community, and the current condition of each domain: atmosphere, land, freshwater and coast, along with the state of our regional infrastructure. We also set out fu...
Technical Report
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In 2015, Marlborough District Council (Council) received a report of damage to a significant ecological marine site in the Marlborough Sounds (Sounds) from sedimentation caused by plantation forestry activities. A review of scientific literature was undertaken to identify the causes and consequences of adverse effects from forestry in the Sounds. T...
Presentation
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World Ocean Day is June 8 – a day to celebrate why our oceans are so important to our daily lives. As Marlburians, the ocean is never far from our consciousness. Our coastline is part of our regional identity. From the gleaming waters of the Sounds, the expanse of Tasman Bay, the wild and often turbulent Cook Strait and the seas off the East Coast...
Presentation
Full-text available
What is the future for conservation? Conservation in New Zealand is at a crossroads. Threatened species continue to face extinction outside of protected areas. There are also serious social issues around poison drops in forests. A new approach is needed to resolve these conundrums. I discuss three possible paths we could take to preserve our biolog...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation biology emerged in the 1980s to prevent extinctions by intervention and adaptive management. Despite many successes worldwide, the goal of self-sustaining populations of many threatened species without ongoing human assistance remains elusive. This is in part due to novel selection pressures overwhelming the ability of species to adapt...
Technical Report
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This is intended as a guidance document to inform the development and implementation of benthic monitoring programmes for salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds. The review of management practices and with it, the benthic standards and monitoring protocol, was initiated by New Zealand King Salmon Company Ltd (NZ King Salmon) and the Marlborough Dis...
Presentation
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One of the greatest gifts of life is to enjoy freedom of thought...
Article
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Deer and goats are ubiquitous in New Zealand forests. These introduced mammals have caused widespread damage and modification to forest structures and altered the mix of plant species. There are few areas on mainland New Zealand where deer and goats are excluded or controlled to a low density. Here, we examine the structure and condition of forest...
Article
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In the early years of the 20th century, red mistletoe (Peraxilla tetrapetala) and scarlet mistletoe (P. colensoi) were abundant in the Tararua Range. Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) impacts are thought to be the cause of near extinction of mistletoe populations. However, since 1996 the Animal Health Board and Greater Wellington Regional Council bega...
Presentation
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The blending of exotic and native species has created an ecology we must learn to live with...
Article
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The influence of charismatic groups on individuals' lives can be profound. The author reviews literature on the charismatic group known as Subud. Subud claims it has no theology, and members believe they directly communicate with their deity through the latihan ritual. To analyze the group, the author uses a systems approach to integrate psychologi...
Article
Question: Does canopy tree regeneration response to different large disturbances vary with soil drainage? Location: Old-growth conifer (Dacrydium and Dacrycarpus), angiosperm (Nothofagus and Weinmannia) rain forest, Mount Harata, South Island, New Zealand. Methods: Trees were aged (1056 cores) to reconstruct stand history in 20 (0.12 - 0.2 ha) plot...
Technical Report
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The Department of Conservation (DOC) uses different control methods and frequencies of aerial 1080 operations to control possums. We have identified important aerial 1080 strategic and operational issues to maximise biodiversity protection. Firstly, we suggest that biodiversity objectives should be clearly defined and that changes in possum abundan...
Article
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New Zealand forests have been substantially modified by introduced red deer over the past century. New Zealand's indigenous forest managers need to know if regeneration of palatable tree species can be restored following control or eradication of browsing ungulates. Aorangi Forest, Wairarapa, suffered dramatic changes in forest understorey composit...
Technical Report
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Terrestrial habitat monitoring is a key area for the Department of Conservation (DOC). Monitoring enables the Department to detect changes in health and functioning of ecosystems, as well as enabling regular reporting on their condition. Monitoring also enables the Department to determine the effectiveness of conservation management, and to provide...
Technical Report
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The Wellington Conservancy terrestrial habitat monitoring strategy identified the need for a specific plan to monitor the effects of animal pests on Chatham Islands vegetation. That need was recently reinforced by Chatham Islands Area staff. This 10 year plan identifies monitoring to help answer animal pest management questions, and has the followi...
Article
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The Department of Conservation established tree fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) monitoring in the Tararua Range in 1994 to determine the effectiveness of large-scale (66 000 ha) possum control for protecting fuchsia. We present results from data collected from 39 permanent plots on fuchsia tree stem survival, growth, and canopy condition between 1994...
Presentation
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In 1989, a modern Russian ice-breaker came within minutes of meltdown. Massive radiation poisoning was narrowly averted, saving Murmansk, a city of 440,000 people. from nuclear disaster...
Presentation
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Fanaticism, according to philosopher, George Santayana, ”consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim”...
Article
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Tourists in New Zealand often impact on the natural environments that are the very reason for their visits. It is, therefore, necessary to manage those natural environments to help ensure that tourism is an environmentally sustainable activity. To assist that management process, it is helpful to establish an overarching classification framework so...
Technical Report
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We examined the environmental effects of visitor activities at three different natural assets (scenic icon sites, seabirds, and caves) on the West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand. To catalogue the effects of different visitor activities on these assets, and to identify indicators of environmental change in relation to the effects of these ac...
Presentation
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The spring sunshine warms the headwaters of the Waikanae River as they stream off Kapakapanui Mountain. Here the water tastes cold and pure. But drink the same water from the same river just 10 kilometres downstream as it flows through Waikanae, and you are liable to get sick from contaminants and bacteria...
Thesis
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Mixed conifer, beech and hardwood forests are relatively common in Aotearoa/New Zealand, but are not well studied. This thesis investigates the coexistence, regeneration dynamics and disturbance history of a mixed species forest across an environmental gradient of drainage and soil development in north Westland. The aim was to investigate whether c...
Presentation
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The water in the Clarke River is ice cold. Since the bridge was washed out by floods last year, ecologist Steve Urlich has had to wade across to get to his field area, Mount Harata Ecological Reserve, where he has been meticulously tagging trees and studying the soil...
Presentation
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The Turning Point 2000 proposal to plant our national highway from Kaikoura to Christchurch and south to Waimate is a worthy one to make the new millennium, and one deserving of thoughtful consideration and careful planning, The year 2000 marks not only a new millennium, but an opportunity to pause for reflection and to embrace a vision and legacy...
Article
The form of the relationship between local species richness and the number of species in the surrounding region can be used as a test between competing theories of community structure. For 32 canopy gaps in New Zealand Nothofagus forest, we examined the relationship between the number of vascular plant species in 0.2-m² quadrats within the gap and...
Presentation
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Canterbury’s natural heritage may have been all but wiped out by the excesses of the past 150 years, but this can be turned back and changed with active community involvement...
Technical Report
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New Zealand is a land of diverse landscapes and ecosystems; within short distances the change from sea to plains to mountains is often dramatic. Since European settlement 150 years ago, large parts of the country have been extensively modified, yet there are still landscapes present with little or no sign of human influence. Overall, these natural...

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Project (1)
Project
Identify how human activities have influenced seabed composition over the last 1000 years. Explore local ecological knowledge about environmental changes. Synthesis these data as a platform for informing integrated sustainable management of coastal ecosystems