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Transfer of Molesworth to DOC welcomed

Transfer of Molesworth to DOC welcomed

The addition of Marlborough's 186, 476 ha Molesworth Station to the conservation estate was welcomed today by Forest and Bird as a major gain for conservation.

"It is an important step towards correcting the lack of protected dry-land ecosystems in New Zealand's parks and reserves network and will open up a vast area for public recreation and enjoyment," Forest and Bird President Dr Gerry McSweeney said.

"Molesworth's spectacular open landscapes are home to a range of special indigenous plants and animals. The decision is welcome recognition of Marlborough's importance as one of New Zealand's top five biodiversity hot-spots," he said.

"The region has 50 species of flowering plants which only occur naturally in Marlborough. Forty per cent of these occur on Molesworth. Its scree communities are some of the most diverse in New Zealand," he said.

"Molesworth has a varied lizard fauna, including the nationally threatened scree skink and long-toed skink. It also has fascinating invertebrates such as predatory ground beetles which are restricted to high altitude mountain tops, giant weta, alpine cicada and speargrass weevils," he said.

"Molesworth's greywacke and argillite mountain ranges, its rolling lowland hills and basins, and sweeping river valleys provide a wealth of opportunities for recreation such as day walks, tramping, heritage day trips, mountain biking, rafting, hunting and fishing and the increasingly popular summer drive on the Molesworth Road from the Awatere Valley to Hanmer," he said.

"Forest and Bird looks forward to DoC establishing a more representative and accountable advisory group, than the current Molesworth Steering Committee, to advise on the area's management," he said.

"DoC already manages several other farm parks such as Puponga in Golden Bay and Te Paki and Mimiwhangata in Northland. As a farm park, Molesworth could become a model for sustainable farming in the dry-land environments of the eastern South Island," he said.

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