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Joint programme seeks to eradicate plant pest

September 13, 2012


Joint programme seeks to eradicate plant pest

Environment Canterbury, The Department of Conservation and Christchurch City Council are working together on a long term project to eradicate Darwin’s Barberry from Otahuna in the Selwyn District.

Darwin’s Barberry is a spiny, evergreen (semi-deciduous shrub) that grows to around 4m high. It is distinctive from July to December with its bright yellow/orange flowers followed by its purple berries that are eaten and spread by birds.

Darwin’s Barberry is a target pest in high value biodiversity sites due to its ability to establish in disturbed areas within intact forest and persist in the understory and canopy. Once established, Darwin’s barberry can prevent native plants from regenerating beneath it.

Environment Canterbury Biosecurity Officer Gemma Livingstone says Otahuna has a range of special flora species that need protection.

“Environment Canterbury started allocating funding for Darwin’s Barberry control in Otahuna in 2010 and we have aimed the initial control at mature plants to reduce the seed source for birds, which in turn prevents them from spreading the problem further afield.

“There is still some way to go to achieve eradication but we hope to finish controlling the remainder of seeding plants in 2013. Follow up work will then be less intensive and concentrate on immature seedlings.” she says.

Environment Canterbury is providing funding for a contractor to control the Darwin’s Barberry on private land surrounding Christchurch City Council reserve land to prevent re-infestation of the reserves. This project is a partnership with Christchurch City Council and Department of Conservation. The funding has been sourced from Canterbury’s Regional Pest Management Strategy Biodiversity Protection Programme.

Gemma Livingstone says that the public is Environment Canterbury’s eyes and ears so if you think you have seen Darwin’s Barberry within the Otahuna area or other natural areas on Banks Peninsula, please contact biosecurity staff on 0800 EC INFO. This seasons control will start in mid-September.

This work contributes towards achieving the targets outlined in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) by protecting native biodiversity values in the Selwyn-Waihora Zone.

© Scoop Media

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