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Kauri Dieback disease present on the Coromandel Peninsula

Kauri Dieback disease present on the Coromandel Peninsula

4 April 2014

The confirmation that the Kauri Dieback disease is present on the Coromandel Peninsula is devastating. At an emergency meeting held by the Kauri 2000 Trust the Trust’s chair, Alison Henry, said “we hoped that the Peninsula was free of the disease, but this news confirms our worst fears”.

At the meeting the trustees were unanimous in their decision to continue planting kauri and will be organising planting days again this June. Kauri 2000 maintains all their planting sites for three to five years, and all sites are healthy with no indication of the disease. “We are confident that continuing to plant is the right thing to do. Indeed, our small seedlings could be seen as the proverbial canary in the coalmine and should the disease be present we will be warned very early” said Mrs Henry.

Kauri dieback is caused by a soil-born phytophthora which is a fungus-like pathogen. It enters the plant through the small roots and gradually strangles the tree of nutrient. While young and mature trees take some years to show symptoms, small seedlings succumb within a few weeks.

The Trust is working closely with the Kauri Dieback Management Team which includes representatives of all relevant agencies. Education about the disease and how to stop it spreading is the best defence against Kauri Dieback and will be a major focus for both the Trust along with the Dieback Team. Because the disease is spread by soil, it is essential that everyone understands that all boots, spades, bikes, and equipment are cleaned of all soil before entering any of our Coromandel forests.

The Trust has been planting kauri on the peninsula since 1999 and this year the Trust will reach a major milestone of planting their 40,000th seedling.

For more information www.kauridieback.co.nz

ENDS

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