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Minister to view Mid Dome during flying visit

Minister to view Mid Dome during flying visit

Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage will get to see the work of the Mid Dome Wilding Trees Charitable Trust first hand when she visits this Sunday (11 March) and is given a helicopter tour of the area.

Trust chairman Ali Timms said a number of new Ministers with special interest in projects like Mid Dome have been invited to view the work when they are in the area and the Conservation Minister is the first to take up the offer.

“It’s a great opportunity for the ministers to get a good understanding of the challenges we face with wilding trees and the work being done to eradicate them in this area.

“It is real high country work in a rugged environment and seeing it from the air is a great way to get a real perspective of the scale.”

The Mid Dome Wilding Trees Charitable Trust was established in 2006, with the goal to eradicate wilding pines from Mid Dome and surrounding land to protect the ecological, economic and recreational values of more than 100,000 hectares of high country land.

A variety of tools have been used over the years to remove seedlings, including aerial spraying and ground control programmes and many hours have been put in by volunteers during workdays.

Ms Timms says the wilding conifers are like any other weed, in that it is always more cost effective to kill them before they grow larger and start producing viable seeds, so much of the work is targeted on the seeding trees. The goal is to eliminate the seed sources and get the infestations down to manageable levels, so the land can then be handed back to landowners for ongoing management.

Over $8 million has been spent on the project since it began and Ms Timms says national funding is essential to ensure the ongoing success of the programme. During the flight, the Minister will be able to view the recent aerial broom spraying of 300 hectares of mature seed source trees which has been funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries under the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme.

The trust works closely with its funding partners, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Land Information New Zealand, Department of Conservation and Environment Southland.

“Our strategy to partner with others has been very successful. We have to work together as without control, wilding conifers could easily become our biggest weed problem due to the area they can cover if left unchecked.”


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