Eskdale Reserve restoration

Significance of the reserve

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Eskdale Reserve is classified as a ‘High Value’ site and a Significant Ecological Area under the Auckland Council Unitary Plan.

The initial inspiration and continued focus for Kaipātiki Project’s restoration work lies in the Eskdale Reserve Network. These reserves combined (approx. 74h) are one of the most unique urban forest eco systems and the largest urban forest in Tāmaki Makaurau ecological region. Forming part of the North-West Wildlink, they provide large areas of continuous urban native vegetation. The network encompasses depleted Kauri podsols on the ridgeline through broadleaf/podocarp forest, down to saltwater edge plants, including one of the few remaining swamps in Auckland containing Swamp Maire (Myrtle family) a rarity and treasured species threatened by Myrtle Rust.

Our work

The ongoing work by volunteers and community contributes to rare sightings of freshwater mussels and a giant kōkopu (only the second sighting in living memory in Auckland).

Eskdale Reserve contains good examples of riparian forest and kauri broadleaved-podocarp associations. It also provides a riparian buffer to Eskdale stream and links with Oruamo stream. Natural areas are extremely vulnerable to weed invasion, pest impacts, fragmentation, wind exposure, and physical isolation from similar areas.

The experienced Kaipātiki Project Restoration team facilitates volunteer activities year-round in the reserve that contribute to Predator Free 2050, the reduction of invasive weed species and improving native ecosystems. We partner with Māori to understand how matauranga Māori can improve environmental outcomes for the area and incorporate this into our work. We adopt a chemical-free approach to all our restoration activities.

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Our adjacent native plant nursery supports our restoration activities by growing plants from seeds collected in the reserve and then planting in the reserve to increase native biodiversity and provide forest candy for birds and bugs.

Our Stream Care programme supports our restoration goals by providing regular freshwater monitoring of the stream flowing through the reserve.

Titiwai - Glowworm colony restoration

To increase our understanding of present populations of Titiwai (Glowworms) in the Eskdale and Witheford Reserve Network, we are undertaking the initial baseline surveys and conducting regular ongoing monitoring of specific populations once identified. We plan to establish opportunities whereby habitat restoration/ protection can be undertaken by volunteers to enhance the survival of identified populations or create circumstances whereby new colonies can become established in previously degraded or
completely new sites. We will engage fruitfully with mana whenua, mataawaka Māori, stakeholders and local residents.

Titiwai (NZ Glowworms - Arachnocampa luminosa) are well known in damp dense bush throughout the Auckland region, however there is little knowledge about the dynamics of specific populations and how they are impacted by habitat change, predators and drought. Associated with sheltered, shady stream banks, several established populations in the Eskdale Reserve have been severely disrupted by recent extensive track modification. This presents us with a timely opportunity to study not only healthy populations in the Eskdale Reserve Network but also establish ongoing monitoring of disrupted sites to understand how they recover naturally, and how we might accelerate this process by habitat restoration or through seeding sites via translocation of larvae from nearby sites.

Titiwai have a fundamental place in Māori cosmogeny 'Te maramatanga namunamu ki taiao' —This was the dim, feeble glimmer emanating from Moko-huruhuru, or Hine-huruhuru, the glow-worm. This was the very first phase of light known.