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Major funding for Sounds conservation programme

Media release - for immediate use

4 April 2008

Major funding for Sounds conservation programme

A new initiative to control wilding pines in the Marlborough Sounds has
secured more than $100,000 to fund its campaign.

The Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust is receiving $90,500 from the New
Zealand Lottery Grants Board's Environment and Heritage Fund, and $13,000
from the Department of Conservation's Biodiversity Condition Fund, to go
towards controlling the spread of wilding pines in the Sounds.

Trust chairman Andrew Macalister says wilding pines are a significant
problem in the Sounds, undermining its scenic qualities and threatening
native flora and fauna. In some parts of the Sounds wilding pines are
overtaking native plants as the dominant species.

"Wilding pines have been spreading through the Sounds unchecked for decades
to the frustration of residents, Sounds users and the tourism industry. As a
community group, we decided it was time to do something about it."

The Trust was set up by a group of Sounds' landowners last year. With the
support of the Department of Conservation and the Marlborough District
Council it commissioned two hard-hitting reports into the impact of wilding
pines on the Marlborough Sounds, and developed a management plan for inner
Queen Charlotte Sound.

Mr Macalister says the funding announcement is the kick-start the Trust has
been waiting for. "We are delighted with the support from the Lottery Grants
Board and Biodiversity Condition Fund."

"For the first time, a strategic and planned approach to wilding pine
control will be undertaken in the Sounds and on a scale far larger than any
work done previously."

The Trust plans to begin the first stage of its wilding pine control
programme later this year.

It will initially focus on inner Queen Charlotte Sound, between Ruakaka Bay
and Double Cove, part of Grove Arm, and an area of infestation between
Curious Cove and Whatamango Bay. In total about 2600ha will be controlled.
The control method will be the injection of herbicide into mature tree
trunks, with local contractors employed to do the work.

Mr Macalister says that if successful, the Trust will look to extend the
programme into other parts of Queen Charlotte Sound in future years.

"The opportunity exists to virtually eliminate wilding pines in the Sounds,
dependent on adequate resourcing and the use of effective and efficient
modern techniques."

ENDS


BACKGROUND INFORMATION

- Wilding pines are pine trees that have spread from original
shelterbelt or forestry plantations into adjoining areas of native bush or
grassland.

- Wilding pines are a significant problem in the Marlborough Sounds
and other parts of the South Island, with impacts on both landscape values
and native biodiversity.

- Despite considerable community concern about their spread, there is
only a small scale, ad hoc response to the problem in the Sounds.

- The Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust has been set up with the
aim of facilitating the restoration of native ecosystems in the Marlborough
Sounds, and protecting the area's landscape values.

- The Trust believes a co-ordinated, community-led approach to wilding
pine control offers the best way forward.

- For the first time, a strategic and prioritised management plan for
wilding pine control has been developed, through a Trust report.

- The management plan focuses on Inner Queen Charlotte Sound only, as
this is the area of highest public use in the Marlborough Sounds.

- A report commissioned by the Trust found that wilding pines pose a
major threat to ecological processes, native vegetation, native flora and
fauna, and natural soil and water conditions.

- The report also identifies at least eight types of native plants at
risk, plus many native animals (land birds, shore-nesting birds, lizards,
invertebrates and freshwater fish).

- A second Trust report also found that, without extensive and
comprehensive wilding management, the landscape values of Queen Charlotte
Sound will gradually diminish. It will lose its distinctiveness, and very
special identity based on its natural qualities.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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