More funding for wilding control in Otago
More than $1 million in new funding will be committed to the battle against the spread of wilding conifers in Queenstown and Central Otago, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has announced.
“The landscape of Central Otago is justifiably world-famous, but it is threatened by rapidly spreading wilding conifers which cloak landscapes in trees that aren’t supposed to be there,” Ms Barry says.
“These trees suck up priceless water, smother habitat for native plants and animals, and are advancing at a rate of five per cent a year.”
The additional funding will allow expanded control across 680,000 hectares of land in Kawarau, the Northern Eyre Mountains, the Remarkables, Dunstan and Kakanui-St Mary Ida.
“This is the latest funding to be announced in a $5 million injection for wilding control in 2016-17, part of Budget 2016’s commitment of $16 million over four years, focused on control in high-priority areas like these.”
Operations in the Queenstown area will be led by the Wakatipu Wilding Control Group, a charitable trust working with DOC, LINZ, local councils and landowners.
“The Wilding Control Group currently has a budget of around $1 million a year, has had significant success getting communities involved in wilding work as part of the War on Weeds, and is to be commended,” Ms Barry says.
Kakanui-St Mary Ida and Dunstan operations will be jointly coordinated by DOC and the Otago Regional Council.
The new Crown funding is supported by significant investment from LINZ, DOC, local government, volunteer groups, community trusts and private land occupiers.
The Right Tree in the Right Place: The New Zealand Wilding Conifer Management Strategy provides a framework for central government, local government, forestry and farming industries, landowners, researchers and communities to work together to reduce the negative impacts of wildings.
Prevention is the best form of management. Removing young seedlings now, before they start producing seeds, costs less than $10 per hectare, but removing mature trees can cost more than $10,000 per hectare.