Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has announced a major expansion of predator control work in Northland’s precious native forests.
“Controlling predators is vital if the forests are going to be safe for native birds like the kiwi, kokako, kakariki and rifleman to breed and thrive,” Ms Barry says.
“The expansion is part of a nationwide ramping up of predator control as part of ‘Battle for our Birds’ and is a key priority as we move towards our goal of a predator free New Zealand by 2050.
“Introduced predators threaten our natural taonga, our economy and primary sector. Predator Free 2050 will bring huge benefits for our regional economies, tourism and our threatened native species.”
The Government committed $20.7 million to fund Battle for our Birds last year. Predator control now covers more than 800,000 hectares of land nationally.
DOC administers just over 133,000ha of forest in Northland, around half the region’s native forest cover. Last year, it spent more than $1.2 million on pest control across 31,350ha of forest.
“An extra $380,000 will be invested in Northland in this financial year – a 23% increase. It means sustained predator control over more than 40,000ha,” Ms Barry says.
“Getting communities involved in managing forest health is the best way forward for Northland.” Ms Barry says.
“There have been encouraging recent projects such as the joint DOC/ Te Rarawa work in the rugged Warawara Ranges which has had significant success, and I hope we can build on that example,” Ms Barry says.
“One area where DOC is looking to expand pest control is in the Russell State Forest.”
The department will also work with Treaty partners to develop a 20-year Forest Health Plan for Northland.
“DOC will work in collaboration with iwi and hapū on the long term Forest Health Plan to protect threatened species and their forest environments across Northland,” Ms Barry says.