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Spread of wilding pines: Govt must in for the long haul

Spread of wilding pines: Government must in for the long haul

WELLINGTON – The continuing spread of wilding pines is a serious menace to New Zealand’s back country, says the NZ Deerstalkers’ Association Inc.

“We join other public groups in asking the government to tackle them now and in the foreseeable future, says NZDA spokesman Bill O’Leary, of Nelson. “If left unchecked, they will forever change our unique high country landscape. The biggest impacts will be on our unique biodiversity, pastoral farming and soaking up our precious water resources.

“Also wilding conifer forests will make access to the high country increasingly challenging for recreationists, including hunters. Recent events have also highlighted the fire risk. We have every good reason to be concerned. ”Hunters had already reported seedlings growing in remote places from the northern Ruahines to the Marlborough back country and the Mackenzie basin, Mr O’Leary said.

“Individual hunters and trampers pull some up but not in a systematic or comprehensive way. The scale of the problem is immense and it has to be tackled on a large scale. The way that pines can seed and multiply very rapidly makes it a different challenge compared to possum control programmes.

“Communities and government must consider this a priority for future funding and control. Proven control methods of including spray and helicopter wanding and the work of ground based personnel are having the desired effect. Costs of these operations are significant, but hunters believe there is no alternative; we need to be in for the long haul.”

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