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Forest and Bird Celebrates Te Papanui

Forest and Bird Celebrates Te Papanui - Otago’s First Tussock Landscape Conservation Park

The launch of Te Papanui Conservation Park on Saturday by the Minister of Conservation, Hon.Chris Carter, on top of the Lammermoor Range near Dunedin will be celebrated by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society. Te Papanui will be Otago’s first tussock grassland landscape to be protected as a conservation park.

“The creation of the 21,000 ha Te Papanui Conservation Park is cause for great celebration as it marks the beginning of a new era of conservation which recognises the importance of protecting low to mid-altitude easily accessible tussock grassland, shrubland and wetland landscapes which are poorly represented in New Zealand’s parks and reserves network” says Forest and Bird’s President, Dr Gerry McSweeney.

“We hope that this Park will be part of a series of parks to protect high country landscapes, on the eastern side of the Alps from Southland to Marlborough.”

Forest and Bird has long campaigned to extend parks from the mountaintops and forests to include tussock grasslands, shrublands and wetlands.

The Society’s Dunedin Branch has directly assisted the creation of Te Papanui with a $10,000 contribution to the purchase of a significant tussock grassland block that is to be included in the Park. Also included, is the Nardoo Conservation Area, the scene of an early campaign for tussock land conservation in the late 1970’s.

The creation of Te Papanui Conservation Park has been a community effort, with Forest and Bird, the Nature Heritage Trust, the Department of Conservation and the Dunedin City Council all contributing.

“Te Papanui covers an impressive landscape of broad tussock covered plateaus, with cushion wetlands, string bogs and island tarns stretching as far as the eye can see. Remnant shrublands are secreted away in steep gullies. The Park is also significant for it’s diverse insect fauna with more that 547 insect species.” Dr McSweeney said.

“The Park will open up a vast new landscape for recreation within easy reach of Dunedin and Central Otago. It is a place where people can go to get away from the clutter and noise of the urban world and the commercialisation of many other conservation areas.”

Forest and Bird hopes the Department of Conservation will manage it as a remote experience park and not allow a profusion of tourism concessions to whittle away it’s sense of remoteness.

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