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Dramatic New Images Show “hole In The Heart” Of Western Springs Native Forest

Tuesday 27 April 2021: Drone footage shot on Friday and stills shot over ANZAC weekend show the scale of the logging road cut through the middle of Western Springs Forest.

Climate and tree protection activist Steve Abel says, “Auckland Council’s logging track has cut a hole in the heart of the Western Springs native forest.”

Western Springs Forest comprises a decades-old understorey of regenerating native bush and a canopy of century-old Monterey Pines.

“Thousands of native plants have been destroyed including kauri, pohutukawa, karo and dozens of native tree ferns. All vegetation is gone from the track including the rich native forest that grows beneath the iconic pine stand.”

“Countless birds, insects and lizards are having their homes smashed as winter sets in. It’s madness that in a climate and biodiversity emergency our own Council is chainsawing this inner city native forest against the will of the community.”

The Council's works in the forest, undertaken by Australasia’s biggest tree-cutting contractor TreeScape, is billed as The Western Springs Native Bush Restoration Project and involves felling and elimination of 200 nearly-century old pine trees and planting native shrubs grasses and trees in an effort to repair the damage. But Abel is scathing of the plan.

“Western Springs is already a native forest. This is the most ecologically destructive way you could address the dozen or so risky pines that need removal - cutting down the whole stand destroys the character of Auckland’s tallest inner-city forest and decimates the rich native ecology that is already here.”

“Climate change doesn’t give us the luxury of cutting down and smashing decades-old native trees just to replant some new ones”

“When people heard Native Bush Restoration they never imagined this scale of carnage.”

Abel estimates that already over 8000 native plants have perished and thousands more will die if the plan is completed.

“Auckland Council tells us that the felling of only 14 pines caused the current mess. They still have 186 more to chop and only 8000 plants to try and repair the damage. We’ve lost that number already just with the logging track.” says Abel.

“These images also starkely show that the contractor is not following the removal plan that the Waitemata Local Board voted for late last year which promised a logging track of only four metres wide.”

“Council and the Waitemata Local Board must halt the works before more harm is done and work with the community and mana whenua on a low-interference ecological management plan which transitions the forest to all native by working respectfully with what is there rather than razing it to the ground.”

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