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Accepted Paper:

Kauri dieback? Kauri ora! Biosecurity, traditional Māori healing and New Zealand's effort to save the forest  
Maria Ayala (University of Canterbury)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers different understandings of kauri forests as expressed by Māori healers, plant pathologists and citizen-science volunteers, while also reflecting on the resulting biosecurity initiatives designed to prevent the dieback triggered by a lethal microorganism.

Paper long abstract:

Kauri (Agathis australis) a tree species native to Aotearoa/New Zealand is one of the world’s largest and longest-living conifer and is regarded by forest ecologists as an ecosystem engineer, capable -over thousands of years- of altering the biochemical composition of the ground. Other 17 species of plants and animals depend on kauri and the type of soil it generates for its survival. Kauri tree is an authentic world maker and kauri forests are among the most impressive of Aotearoa/New Zealand's landscapes. Taken to the brink of extinction by two hundred years of unrestrained logging under colonial rule, recovering patches of kauri forests are now facing a new biological threat, Phytophthora agathidicida. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork on healthy and declining kauri forests, this paper is informed by the various research activities, experimental treatments and biosecurity policies undertaken by scientists and Māori elders. This presentation analyses how particular understandings of the landscape are translated into very different conservation and management practices, even when designed with the sole purpose of saving kauri.

Panel P008a
The landscape turn in conservation: non-western perspectives and anthropological insights