Team Leader - Natural Heritage, Integrated Catchment Management, Waikato Regional Council
Alan Saunders has been involved in conservation management, research and advocacy throughout New Zealand, and internationally, for more than 40 years. Prior to 1987 he participated in species recovery and island restoration projects with the NZ Wildlife Service. During the 1990s Alan was part of DOC’s Threatened Species Unit – a team of experienced specialists with a national overview of species recovery operations. He was also involved in coordinating DOC’s national ‘Mainland Island’ programme. Alan subsequently managed the Pacific Invasives Initiative, based at the University of Auckland, and then ‘Invasive Species International, a small consultancy operated by Landcare Research which was involved in evaluating the feasibility and reviewing the achievements of species recovery and invasive species management projects in various countries. From 2013 to 2015 he was based with IUCN’s Oceania Regional Office in Fiji where he was responsible for coordinating a range of conservation and sustainable development projects throughout the Pacific. Alan has been Team Leader of the Waikato Regional Council’s Natural Heritage Team since April 2015. He has oversight of a range of operations including habitat restoration and pest management and is involved in turning the vision of a ‘Predator free New Zealand’ into a reality. He particularly enjoys working at the interface between environment, economy and society and has come to realise that conservation is essentially a social enterprise. His greatest pleasure comes from his continued relationships with field practitioners and with community groups who continue to teach and inspire him.
Island by island - New Zealand's transformative approach to nature conservation
Since the 1960s New Zealand conservation practitioners have focused on islands to prevent extinctions, to recover species, to reconstruct biological communities and to restore ecological processes. Successes led to progressively more ambitious projects involving larger, more remote islands and the removal of multiple pests. While single-island projects are still being undertaken, economies of scale and […]