Environmental groups are concerned say the Department of Conservation's decision to unite the management of two major regions will jeopardise conservation efforts there.
Alan McKenzie took charge of both conservancies this week after Southland conservator Barry Hanson was seconded to another position in the department and Otago conservator Marian van der Goes resigned.
The Southland Regional Council's environmental chair, Ali Timms, says she's worried about her organisation's future with the department; and the Southland Conservation Board chair, Viv Shaw, says the board is concerned that decision-making will no longer be made locally.
Mr McKenzie says the change is simply a trial measure, not a major shift, and for both conservancies it will remain business as usual.
He says the Department of Conservation is going through a delivery project which is looking at how it delivers conservation across the whole of New Zealand.