The guiding principle is to focus first on protecting and maintaining what remains, and then restore what has been lost.
Projects will be assessed against the six goals set out in the Canterbury Biodiversity Strategy:
- Protect and maintain the health of all significant habitats and ecosystems.
- Restore the natural character of degraded indigenous habitats and ecosystems.
- Increase the integration and sustainable use of indigenous species in modified environments (e.g. farm, urban, lifestyle blocks).
- Enhance public awareness, understanding and support of biodiversity.
- Encourage, celebrate and support action by landowners and communities to protect, maintain and restore biodiversity.
- Improve the range and quality of knowledge and information about Canterbury’s biodiversity for its sustainable management.
Projects are also assessed against the following criteria to consider the ecological value of the project.
Ecological context: Projects must provide a benefit to indigenous biodiversity and play an important role in the long-term health of the wider eco-system.
Representativeness: The extent to which an area represents a habitat type or ecosystem that is typical of the area concerned.
Diversity and pattern: Ecosystems including vegetation communities, habitats for native animals, and wetlands that contain a high degree of natural diversity (e.g. a range of plant types).
Naturalness: Native vegetation or habitat of indigenous fauna is in a natural state or healthy condition, or is in an original condition.
Rarity or distinctiveness: Plants or habitats (including wetlands) that are rare or threatened or support rare or threatened species; plants or habitats that are distinctive (e.g. a plant species at the limits of its natural range or is uniquely adapted due to special areas such as caves; species at the limits of their natural range).
Project leadership: Proposed projects that will be undertaken by groups need identified leadership.
Geographic spread: Where possible a fair distribution of funding will be allocated across the region
Community education: The extent to which the project will provide environmental benefits to the wider community, for example, enhancing the communities understanding of indigenous biodiversity.