WWF's Conservation Innovation Awards

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Stop Kauri Dieback – helping to save our Kauri

Kauri dieback is a major concern for the conservation of Northland and New Zealand kauri forests.  Kauri dieback is being identified in new locations and can be spread by people moving between areas.  Stop Kauri Dieback is a web-based tool and app to enable forest visitors, trampers, walkers and conservation volunteers to record sightings of kauri dieback.  The information is then checked by local experts to confirm or reject potential sightings before they are included in the Stop Kauri Dieback database and its maps.

Stop Kauri Dieback interacts with social media and allows rapid connection with all forest users, allowing people to take the key steps to stop the spread of kauri dieback, such as boot washing and avoiding infected areas.

Stop Kauri Dieback empowers local iwi to exercise and express their kaitiakitanga (guardianship) over kauri in their area of interest, as well as giving the wider community and individuals the tools to help stop the spread of dieback in their area.

What conservation problem are you trying to solve?

Kauri dieback is seriously affecting one of our iconic native tree species.  We are continuing to learn about kauri dieback but we know it can be spread on very small amounts of soil on boots.  It’s critical we quickly understand where it is showing up and mobilise people to take the key preventative measures like boot washing and avoiding infected areas.  Stop Kauri Dieback, through its app that forest visitors have on their mobile phone, offers an ideal solution.

How are you going to solve this conservation problem?

An easy-to-use mobile app that links back to a web-based data repository and mapping facility will be developed.  Stop Kauri Dieback promises to be highly effective by involving all forest visitors in identifying this threat.  The app will provide information on avoiding spread and help users identify possible dieback symptoms and show where dieback is known to be present.   Development and refinement of the tool will be undertaken to integrate with existing initiatives to manage kauri dieback.

What makes your idea new and unique?

There is currently no mechanism for rapid identification, tracking and communication of kauri dieback that could help reduce its spread.  Stop Kauri Dieback would be the first interactive tool that is completely accessible to the public and conservation experts alike.  It would therefore involve and empower local iwi and the wider community in the battle to save our kauri.It will engage and enable people and the community and build knowledge of kauri dieback.

Who will use your idea, and how will they benefit?

Iwi, community, tourists, conservation professionals and all forest users will use this tool.  Stop Kauri Dieback will enable iwi to fulfil their role as kaitiaki (guardians) and become more active in the identification and management of this disease.  It will allow all people visiting kauri forests to become ‘disease reporters’. It will provide conservation experts with invaluable information to effectively fight kauri dieback.

What tasks or activities do you need investment for? How would you spend a $25,000 grant?

To contribute to development of the Stop Kauri Dieback website and app.Promoting and supporting use of the tool.

Are you a New Zealand citizen or resident?


I have read and agree to the Crowdicity Terms of Use, the Conservation Innovation Awards 2016 Supplemental Terms and Conditions, and the Crowdicity Community Guidelines


List five other ideas posted in the challenge that excite you. Why?

Lizard tales:  conservation of lizards is under addressed.  These projects are an exciting opportunity for the wider community to get up close and hands on with biodiversity in its local area.

Wasp wipe out:  We all hate wasps – they have a major impact on native species and on our enjoyment of the environment.  This is something whole communities would appreciate.

Long live the kakakpo.  Any useful possibilities to increase the chances of survival of this iconic species should be investigated

Immersive conservation:  easily accessed and interesting tools for teachers are helpful as part of the wider education mix

Wild about NZ Wildlife:  providing greater opportunity for soft release of birds and others species and promoting skills and use of this technique will provide further opportunity for community engagement


How could you improve your idea?

We would work with a focus group of representatives from Iwi, forest users and agencies working on Kauri Dieback, to help determine the best structure of the tool and its support and delivery.

Introduce different levels of access to data – potentially enabling access to detailed locations to experts and more generalised location information to the public.  This would be influenced by feedback from the range of users and stakeholders involved.

Interactive and interesting reporting of trends over time.  Integration of interactive mapping displays would improve interest.  Enabling a wide range of users and media to look at the change in distribution over time

Developing links with researchers to provide data to them quickly and allow more detailed analytics of disease spread and management.

Engagement of schools with the tool to provide learning and use of modern digital devices – spreading knowledge to whole community.  Sharing experiences and ideas with the immersive conservation idea in this challenge could be useful around this.

Building a working group with iwi around the development and use of the tool – and using this to incorporate matauranga maori in aspects of the information and display.

edited on Oct 13, 2016 by Peter Handford

David Gauld Oct 3, 2016

Will the app incorporate GPS information to identify exactly where the affected kauri is located? Of course if you are far enough away from civilisation then you may not have cell-phone connection: will your app retain the information until the phone is back on air?


Peter Handford Oct 3, 2016

Hi David thanks for you interest. App will provide GPS location. Will work offline without cell connection, store data on phone, then sync when in coverage.


Kevin Adshead Oct 6, 2016

This looks like a great way of allowing the data to be easily accessed by the public. However two concerns
not all areas with kauri dieback have adequate PTA protection facilities in place , or if they do they are inadequately maintained.
folk who don't know what kauri dieback looks like may use this information to find out - and inadvertently spread the disease further.
Until we have a better handle on how to identify the disease in situ, and how to prevent it's spread, it may be better for this app to be developed for professionals and to continue to close to the public areas of bush that are affected.


Lee Barry Oct 7, 2016

Hey KJA - good points, but i think the more people who understand the disease, what it looks like, how its spread and how to stop it, the better our chances of getting on top of it. Keeping a tool like this 'in house' for professionals may waste valuable time. A similar disease in Western Australia has decimated native forests and my mates there tell me "don't wait! - act now!"


Peter Handford Oct 7, 2016

HI KJA, misslee - thanks for these useful points and comments. A key point of the tool is that will put information about what kauri dieback looks like and the steps to avoid its spread - in the hands of all people in and around the forest. It will help raise the profile of the disease. It will provide a mechanism for iwi and local communities to be directly engaged in protecting their kauri forests. Identifying potential infection and promoting protection mechanisms, installation and maintenance of boot washing stations etc.

I agree misslee - we need to engage people and get them active on something so critical to our kauri forests. A tool like this needs to be out there and used. We have wide experience undertaking similar projects, such as trap.nz, so can deliver this tool quickly, once the support is confirmed.

Careful moderation and management of data is important KJA - and this is a feature of the system. User access to the examination and display of data can be set at different levels when developing the system. This means we could decide that "professionals" get detailed access to detailed display of locations, where as public users get broad identification of infection being present in a wider forest area. A design phase working with a wide range of specialists and stake holders in this issue will help determine the best approach.

This tool is an important practical and immediate step that can be taken to support the management of kauri dieback. Please support and promote this project to others. Many thanks.


View all replies (2)

Michele Frank Oct 13, 2016

Hi Peter don't forget to complete the next step of the process

You must answer two more questions in your idea submission form to pass this last milestone:

List five other ideas posted in the challenge that excite you. Why?
How could you improve your idea?
Click on the "Edit your idea" button in the milestones window above your challenge to access your original post and answer the additional questions. You can also click on "Edit" in the "Author's tools" bar above your idea to edit your submission.

Make sure you make it through to final judging.



AaronT Oct 14, 2016

Good answers to the Qs so far. Have you considered incorporating other species as a potential future improvement? Such an approach could lead to integrated management if/where correlations are determined.