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DOC Targets Otago and Canterbury Wilding Pines

12 October 2004

DOC Targets Wilding Pines

Paul Hondelink of Wanaka Area Office felling wilding pines on the western shore of Lake Wanaka.
Click for big version

The Department of Conservation is moving forward with projects to control wilding pines in Otago and Canterbury, following the increase in DOC funding announced in June by Conservation Minister Chris Carter.

The extra funding has allowed both conservancies to strengthen their assault on the spread of wilding pines.

In a joint statement, Otago Conservator Jeff Connell and Canterbury Conservator Mike Cuddihy said current work was being largely focused on high priority wilding pine control programmes as the most effective way to use the increased funds.

The Department also was further developing cooperative efforts with adjoining landowners and key stakeholders such as Environment Canterbury and the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Mr Connell said Otago projects this financial year included the Remarkables and Richardson Mountains in the Wakatipu area, the Pisa Mountains in the Wanaka area, the Hawkdun and South Dunstan mountains in central Otago and the Te Papanui Conservation Park in coastal Otago.

Mr Cuddihy said the highest priority in Canterbury was the proposed 48,000 hectare Ahuriri Conservation Park where approximately $40 000 was being spent a year.

“Work to control wilding pines in the Ben Ohau area will be spread over more than 32,000 hectares. The project is a continuation of work that has been ongoing for the past seven years, focused on the key infestations,” Mr Cuddihy said.

“Other priority wilding pine control projects in Canterbury include the Ashburton Lakes, the Two Thumb range, the Korowai/Torlesse Tussockland Park, and land adjoining the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.”

Mr Cuddihy said DOC was working towards preventing spread by concentrating on scattered trees first, before tackling the denser areas.

“The Canterbury weed programme has achieved success over a number of years in removing wilding conifers, particularly in the Twizel Te Manahuna area.

“The additional funding will enable us to take that expertise and use it on some of the new public conservation lands. This has been highlighted on the recent Nature Heritage Fund acquisition of Clent Hills where DOC staff has already removed a pine infestation near Lake Heron,” Mr Cuddihy said.

Paul Hondelink of Wanaka Area Office felling wilding pines on the western shore of Lake Wanaka.Click for big version

Both Conservators said it was important to understand that the control of wilding pines – one of the biggest weed problems in the South Island high country – was not only a DOC responsibility.

“Pines are very resilient and the wind-blown seeds scatter over huge distances, taking root easily.

“Neighbours must work together to achieve effective control programs,” Mr Connell said.

Further information on wilding pines is available from any Department of Conservation office. Pest control officers at regional and district councils can also advise on control methods.


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