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Lotteries funding to control weeds in National Park

23 May 2014

Lotteries funding to control weeds in National Park

The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board has granted the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust $200,000 to control invasive weeds in Abel Tasman National Park.

The funding is part of a $300,000 two-year programme to be project managed by the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust. The programme is based on a comprehensive Weed Management Plan, commissioned by Project Janszoon in 2012.

Chair of the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, Kim McGlashen says the Weed Management Plan identifies 113 different weed species in the project area, many of which present serious ecological threats.

“In order for the process of ecological recovery to continue, it is absolutely vital that some active management is undertaken to ensure that the invasive weed species are not allowed to dominate and suppress native forest regeneration. By removing the weeds the native flora will have the opportunity to flourish again, ultimately providing food for native birds and insects”.

The key targets for control range from climbing vines, such as old man’s beard and banana passionfruit, that are establishing from outside the Park, to ‘garden escapes’, such as Grevillea, periwinkle and ivy, that have spread from historic plantings along the Abel Tasman coastline.

The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust has contracted R&D Environmental Ltd to manage the weed control programme. Private land adjoining the Park such as baches at Awaroa and Torrent Bay, are not included in the control programme. The areas targeted for control will be high-priority areas of Abel Tasman National Park and Canaan Downs Scenic Reserve.

DOC Motueka Conservation Services Manager Mark Townsend says this is another truly remarkable project that the Birdsong Trust is tackling.

“With considerable efforts now in place to tackle pest animals within the Abel Tasman this new intensive focus on pest plants is another significant step forward in the restoration of the national park. Pest plants don't tend to get as much profile as possums, rats and stoats but can greatly compromise the ability of the Park to recover by out competing native plant species for space and light and completely changing habitats such as coastal dunes”, he says.

The weed control programme follows on from the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust’s wilding pine control programme. In addition to the Lottery Grants Board funding, the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust has also obtained funding or in-kind support from DOC, Park concessionaires, Tasman District Council, Agronica NZ Ltd (herbicide) and Project Janszoon.

ENDS

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