General news

NZ researcher and ecologist Professor Bruce Clarkson
26 September 2017

Are cities a potential solution for biodiversity decline?

Professor Bruce Clarkson will examine whether cities are a potential solution for biodiversity decline when he delivers the 2017 Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture in Nelson on 28 September.

The lecture is a free annual community event for the people of Nelson.

“This year’s lecture, titled ‘Bringing indigenous nature back into New Zealand cities’, is timely as in Aotearoa/New Zealand – and the world – urban growth is putting significant pressure on our environment and natural resources,” says Cawthron Institute Trust Board chair, Bob Dickinson.

“This year marks 100 years since the first lecture was held and it is a pleasure to have Professor Clarkson address the public and share science with us. Ensuring the health of New Zealand's environment is one of Cawthron Institute's top priorities. We want future generations to be able to swim in, and fish and drink from our rivers, lakes and streams.”

A short excerpt from the first Cawthron Lecture – "The aims and ideals of the Cawthron Institute" presented by Professor Thomas Hill Easterfield, 1917

In this year’s lecture, Bruce Clarkson will consider whether cities could be a solution to New Zealand’s biodiversity decline and will remind us just how precious our native plants and animals are, and how we all have a stake in protecting them.

Professor Clarkson has worked tirelessly in the areas of plant ecology and vegetation processes, conservation efforts in terrestrial, freshwater, and urban environments, and effective, on-the-ground restoration practices.

In 2016, he received the Royal Society Te Apārangi Charles Fleming Award for Environmental Achievement. The award honours those who have achieved distinction in protecting and improving our environment, especially the sustainable management of the New Zealand environment.

“I’ve been trying to understand and help restore our natural environment for more than half a century and I remain optimistic,” says Clarkson. “Cities provide us with opportunities to restore nature not found in other parts of the landscape and can influence and drive wider regional improvements. We have a chance to think hard about what we are doing to the environment and make some changes. My team and I are focused on researching the most effective ways to restore native habitat and ecosystems to support all the iwi, community and council projects being undertaken in urban environments”.

Event details:
Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture
7.30pm-10pm Thursday, 28 September
Annesbrook Church, 40 Saxton Rd West, Stoke, Nelson
Register for your free tickets on EventBrite