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Weed Atlas For Wellington First Of Its Kind In NZ

Weed Atlas For Wellington – First Of Its Kind In NZ

The first atlas to map the distribution of some major weed species in Wellington region has been produced by the Department of Conservation in the ongoing fight against the invasion of pest plants.

Conservation officer John Sawyer said the weeds in the atlas included many that people unwittingly grew in their gardens such as Japanese honeysuckle, banana passionfruit, climbing asparagus, boneseed, Old man’s beard, Pampas grass, elaeagnus, tutsan, German ivy and Wandering jew.

“Over 240 introduced plants have become pests to the country’s native ecosystems, threatening the survival of many native plants and animals. They can smother forests and prevent regeneration and hybridise with closely related native species.

“One of the main benefits of the atlas is to assist with campaigns to raise public awareness of weed species and how to control infestations on lands not administered by DOC,” said Mr Sawyer. Actions include learning how to recognise pest plants and reporting infestations to local authorities and wisely disposing of cuttings and seed heads.

Mr Sawyer said the department would use the atlas to monitor future changes in weed distribution, including records of new infestations, expansion of existing populations or success with control, containment or eradication programmes. It would also assist in the development of weed control programmes and identify geographically isolated or small infestations where eradication attempts may be especially urgent, practical and effective.

“The atlas information has kicked off a national weed database and demonstrates what can be achieved with existing databases both within the Department of Conservation and from external agencies such as the Wellington Regional Council,” said Mr Sawyer. The atlas has also drawn on weed distribution information from various other sources including, plant checklists, weed survey data, vegetation surveys, pest occurrence records made by botanists and publications. Information about the ecology, biogeography, and control techniques for the weed species is also stored on the national weed database.

The atlas is being distributed to local authorities, botanical societies and conservation and restoration groups in the region. Mr Sawyer said people were welcome to provide new records of occurrences of weed species and to help with eradication.

For further information please contact
Nikki Wright, or John Sawyer, Wellington Conservancy, tel: (04) 4725821

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