Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

New Report: Climate Crisis Fuelled Further By Introduced Pests

A new Forest & Bird report gives a stark warning that ongoing damage by introduced browsing pests causes native habitats to bleed stored carbon.

The report, Protecting our Natural Ecosystems’ Carbon Sinks, reveals the West Coast’s kāmahi-podocarp forests alone are presently bleeding 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 every year because of browsing from deer, goats, chamois, and possums. To put this carbon loss into perspective it is equivalent to the country’s 2018 domestic air travel emissions.

The report also estimates controlling these feral browsing pests to the lowest possible levels would increase the carbon sequestration of native ecosystems by 8.4 million tonnes of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to nearly 15% of New Zealand’s 2018 net greenhouse gas emissions.

“The possums, deer, wallabies, goats, pigs, chamois, and tahr that were released into the wild have been chomping their way through native forests, shrublands, and tussocklands,” says Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague.

“This has destroyed the natural ability of native ecosystems to be the best carbon sinks on land.”

“Our native ecosystems in their natural state are superb at locking in and storing vast amounts of carbon. But they need to be healthy and free from introduced animal pests to do that.”

“The range of browsing pests are out of control across the country with both deer and goat numbers increasing significantly over the past decade.”

“When native forests collapse, huge volumes of carbon dioxide are released as trees die and rot. Our largest forest type, kāmahi-podocarp forest, is presently bleeding 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 every year,” says Mr Hague.

“Impacts are multiplied if more than one invasive species of browser is present. Together, they are killing our native habitats and causing native forests, shrublands, and tussocklands to release carbon instead of holding it. By eating seedlings and killing young trees these introduced pest animals also consume future generations of forest, and our future carbon sinks.”

“Acting now to turn around the destruction caused by browsing pests would restore natural carbon sinks and protect native plants and wildlife.”

“This work needs to be over and above New Zealand’s climate commitments to eliminate fossil fuel emissions and substantially cut agricultural emissions as part of our fair share of global efforts to help keep warming below 1.5 degrees. It could even help make Aotearoa carbon positive within a few decades.”

Forest & Bird is calling for increased control, coordination, and research to reduce browsing pests, and restore the carbon sequestration of native ecosystems.

“Healthy native habitats are our biggest ally in the fight against climate change.”

“Also, farmland that is currently being retired and allowed to regenerate as well as newly planted permanent native forest sinks will need protection from browsing mammals too or all that work will be wasted,” says Mr Hague. 

Summary of recommendations from Forest & Bird report: 

Control

Significantly reduce the number of introduced browsing species (goats, possums, deer, wallabies, chamois, and tahr) in Aotearoa for the win-win outcome of both native species protection and carbon sinking abilities of native forests, shrublands and tussocklands.

Prioritise control where evidence shows forests are losing a significant amount of stored carbon, such as kāmahi-podocarp forests.

Coordination

Coordinate predator control (rats, possums, stoats, feral cats) with browser control (goat, deer, wallabies, chamois, tahr), so whole native ecosystems can recover and be the best carbon sinks on land.

Support more sustained and coordinated control of introduced feral browsers on public and private land to prevent spread and reinvasion.

Research

Substantially increase the number of forest plots that are regularly measured to better detect changes in forest carbon stocks and the response to pest control. Provide greater resources to ensure the results of this work are rapidly available to guide management to maximise carbon storage.

New technologies for introduced browser control.

To read the full report, visit: forestandbird.org.nz/carbonreport

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Geo-political Posturing Over China’s Cyber Hacks, Plus The Weekly Playlist

The timing was one of the weirder aspects of this week’s cyber condemnation of China by the West. Why was this piece of political theatre being staged now? China (and Russia’s) sponsoring and/or condoning of semi-state and criminal hacker groups has been known about for nigh on a decade. More particularly, Microsoft had been alerted to the flaws in its Microsoft Exchange... More>>




 
 


Government: Quarantine Free Travel With Australia Suspended

Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today... More>>

ALSO:


Government: New Zealand Condemns Malicious Cyber Activity By Chinese State-sponsored Actors

New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious activity... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Commits $600,000 To Flood Recovery

The Government is contributing $600,000 to help residents affected by the weekend’s violent weather with recovery efforts. Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have been in the Buller district this afternoon to assess flood damage and support the local response effort... More>>

ALSO:



NZUS Council: Welcomes Nomination Of Senator Tom Udall As US Ambassador To NZ

The NZUS Council welcomes the nomination of Senator Tom Udall to the role of US Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, NZUS Council executive director Jordan Small said... More>>

BusinessNZ: Visa Extensions Welcomed
BusinessNZ has welcomed the extension of some critical skill visa durations and changes to immigration systems to speed processing. Chief Executive Kirk Hope says move acknowledges advocacy by the hospitality sector, the BusinessNZ Network and others, and comes not a moment too soon.... More>>



Social Development: Government Initiatives Contribute To Fall In Benefit Numbers

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the release of the June quarter Benefit Statistics which show a continuing fall in the number of people receiving a Main Benefit... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels