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Kauri dieback aerial survey on Waiheke Island

Kauri dieback aerial survey on Waiheke Island

The fight against kauri dieback is advancing onto Waiheke Island this month, with an aerial survey being conducted to identify any locations where the disease may have taken hold.

As one of the few areas believed to be free of kauri dieback disease, Waiheke Island contains some of Auckland’s healthiest kauri forests. To follow up on previous studies, Auckland Council’s survey will capture an accurate record of the state of health of Waiheke kauri.

A low-flying helicopter will be used to take photos of forest areas across Waiheke Island. Yellowing and canopy thinning are symptoms of the disease and can be easily seen from the air, making this a cost effective way to identify and locate any kauri that appear sick.

This work will allow the council’s biosecurity team to pinpoint exact locations of potentially sick trees for ground teams to contact relevant landowners regarding inspections and soil sampling.

Monitoring the kauri from the air supplies the team with other valuable information about kauri and lays a foundation for future studies by enabling comparisons between these images with any taken in the future.

The fungus-like disease has a devastating impact on our kauri forests, killing kauri of all ages and sizes and effectively altering entire ecosystems that rely on these treasured giants.

Microscopic spores in the soil infect the roots and damage the tissues that carry nutrients within the tree causing a relatively quick decline and death. Kauri dieback can easily spread on dirty shoes, particularly from the mainland where many kauri forests are infected with the disease.

Let’s keep Waiheke a healthy kauri area and help prevent the spread of kauri dieback. Keep to tracks and off kauri roots and clean shoes, bike and car tyres and equipment before and after visiting kauri forests. Report any sightings of this deadly disease to 0800 NZ KAURI (0800 695 2874).


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