Biowastes to establish valuable native ecosystems

Native plants and animals are often displaced from agricultural and silvicultural lands. Biowastes can enhance the reintroduction of native ecosystems into such environments, particularly if the soil has become degraded. In addition to providing shelter and ecological benefits, biowaste-assisted native ecosystems can generate revenue through the production of endemic products such as manuka honey and essential oils. Often, the products of sewage treatment are disposed into landfills or waterways because of negative public perception of their application onto agricultural land. When biowastes are used to enhance the establishment of native vegetation, the direct link to food is broken. We are investigating the use of native vegetation in farming systems, where the trees receive biowastes in the form of animal effluents. We are also researching establishment of native vegetation on degraded land using sewage sludge. In both cases, the role of the vegetation is to create value, either through saleable products or via ecosystem services.

Related publications

Dickinson N, Marmiroli M, Das B, McLaughlin D, Leung D, Robinson BH (2015). Endemic plants as browse crops in agricultural landscapes of New Zealand. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 39, 224-242.

Hahner JL, Robinson BH, Zhong HT, Dickinson NM (2014). The phytoremediation potential of native plants on New Zealand dairy farms. International Journal of Phytoremediation 16(7-8), 719-734.

Robinson BH (2014) Biowastes to convert former pine forests into cash-producing native ecosystems. In Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research (CIBR) Newsletter No. 9: Summer 2014-2015.