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Wild ginger to be controlled on East Cape

Wild ginger to be controlled on East Cape

Friday 16 September 2005

A thriving weed that poses the single biggest threat to the biodiversity of the Bay of Plenty’s East Cape is going to be the target of a major control campaign.

Environment Bay of Plenty decided to tackle Kahili ginger after a survey found it growing wild over more than 600ha, and on 250 properties, between Torere and Whangaparaoa.

Operational services committee chairman Jim Pringle says it is important to protect the biodiversity of the North Island’s largest tract of coastal native forest. “If we don’t deal with this now, it will become unmanageable,” he says. “For the future of biodiversity on the coast, it is critical we control this pest plant.”

The council has committed to a three-year control programme to deal with the bulk of the infested area.

Environment Bay of Plenty’s pest plant coordinator John Mather says wild ginger has spread from original plantings on the coast into adjacent native forests, where it is crowding out native plants and destroying the habitat for native birds. “In some places, all you see is a forest canopy with an understorey of pure ginger.”

Kahili ginger is a Progressive Control Pest Plant in Environment Bay of Plenty’s Regional Pest Management Strategy. This means landowners or occupiers must control infestations on their properties. However, Mr Mather says the East Cape will receive assistance because of the challenges posed by fragmented land ownership and a small population base.

ENDS

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