Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Natural Heritage our Grandchildren Can Thank Us For

Natural Heritage our Great-great-great-great Grandchildren Can Thank Us For...

New Zealand’s One Billion Trees initiative goes one better than similar 'Million Trees' efforts in places like L. A., London, and Shanghai. The plan is to plant One Billion Trees by 2027 – and it's a great plan! Trees have many potential benefits, not least sequestering carbon, helping mitigate our CO2 emissions, and thereby reducing our effect on climate.

But not all trees are equal. While fast-growing exotic species may quickly accumulate carbon; long-lived species, such as our native conifers - totara, rimu, matai - can lock up that carbon for hundreds, even thousands of years.

Trees can help grow our economy too. But again, the right trees. Recently Forest & Bird found numerous invasive pest plants on the proposed Billion Trees species list, including some on DOC's weed list! Invasive pest plants can cause biodiversity loss, take over productive land, potentially increase wildfire risk, and modify ecosystem processes - including ones we rely on such as water yields. Once these plants establish, their ongoing control becomes a major expense for both government and private landowners, for example, as now with wilding conifers.

Waitākiri Ecosanctuary is a prospective Christchurch red zone project, spokesperson Dr Colin Meurk says, “One Billion Trees is a golden opportunity to do right by our diminishing biodiversity. To plant our own unique noble trees - create habitat - for our native birds, bats, lizards, frogs, and all the ‘creepy crawlies’ that rely on, and thrive in, our native bush. The main focus shouldn't be production timber alone, but ecological restoration and its multiple values.”

It's also a great opportunity to increase the number of native trees in our urban centres. Christchurch has a dearth of indigenous forest habitat, but groups like the Avon-Ōtākaro Forest Park, AvON, Greening the Red Zone, the Lyttelton Summit Society, the Ihutai Trust, Travis Wetland Trust and many more, are busy advocating for and planting habitat. What a great boost it would be to have the resources of One Billion Trees behind them!

Dr Sarah Wyse, of Lincoln University's Bio-Protection Research Centre says, “Since changes to the RMA in 2012 we have lost many large trees from our cities, while around the world, cities are recognising the benefits of urban forest, and are actively replanting trees. It's not only habitat; urban trees improve air quality, conserve energy by cooling our cities in hot weather, and reduce storm-water flooding and erosion. They improve the biodiversity values of our cities, and they also improve the physical and mental health of those living and working near them.”

Prior to human settlement, 85-90% of New Zealand was forest, ruled by birds. Human activities have removed most of that, particularly in areas such as the Canterbury Plains where approximately 97% of forest is gone. Even in recent years we have seen the removal of shelter belts on the Plains, to make way for large irrigators. Our trees have been under siege.

Re-naturing the red zone is a chance to try and reverse that, to wholeheartedly attempt to preserve our globally unique, taonga species for generations to come.

Tanya Didham is co-chair of community group, Greening the Red Zone.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Whether We Should Be Betting Quite So Heavily On Astra Zeneca’s Covid Vaccine

According to this week’s Speech from the Throne, maintaining public safety during the pandemic will remain the government’s top priority. Next year will (hopefully) bring the rolling out of a free vaccination against Covid-19 to New Zealander. Currently, there are three possible vaccine contenders but the effectiveness of the vaccine will be only one of the factors determining which vaccine will pre-dominate. On the basis of the cost per dose, and the ease of manufacture, storage and distribution, the Astra Zeneca/Oxford University vaccine will almost certainly be the prime choice for New Zealand, at least initially... More>>


New Zealand Government: Speech From The Throne

It is my privilege to exercise the prerogative of Her Majesty the Queen and open the 53rd Parliament.
In the October election, New Zealanders elected a majority Government for the first time under our Mixed Member Proportional electoral system... More>>

Grant Robertson: Government To Review Housing Settings

New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus More>>


Law Commission: Recommends New DNA Laws For Criminal Investigations

Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission today released a report that recommends a new, comprehensive regime to control how DNA is obtained, used and retained for criminal investigations. The report has revealed significant gaps in the operation ... More>>


New Zealand Government: To Declare A Climate Emergency

The Government will declare a climate emergency next week, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said today. “We are in the midst of a climate crisis that will impact on nearly every aspect of our lives and the type of planet our children will inherit ... More>>


Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>


Green Party: Announce Portfolio Reshuffle With Talented And Energised Caucus Team

“The Green Party caucus offers a breadth of talent and energy to the Parliament this term. In ten MPs you have a small business owner, a human rights lawyer, an academic, a climate negotiator, a transport planner, and so much more”, Green Party ... More>>





InfoPages News Channels