“It’s time to declare War on Weeds,” Ms Barry says. “They choke our forests and waterways, restrict habitat and could ruin cherished and valuable landscapes.”
“We’re focusing efforts on what we are calling the Dirty Dozen, 12 weeds which are causing particular problems in different parts of the country. They are weeds which everyone will be able to identify and help to remove with minimal equipment.”
Left uncontrolled, these weeds could invade more than half a million hectares of protected land within 15 years, posing a threat to one third of all New Zealand’s threatened plant species.
The impact of exotic weeds goes beyond conservation of our landscapes. Research by the Royal Society suggests they cost the agricultural sector more than $1.2 billion a year in lost productivity and control costs.
DOC currently manages 350 different types of weed, spending more than $10 million a year on control efforts.
“A weed is often a plant in the wrong place, and I want our War on Weeds campaign to focus people’s attention on the problems these weedy ecoinvaders cause,” Ms Barry says. “It’s an opportunity to get some exercise pulling out weeds in the great outdoors, in the cause of helping the environment.”
More than $1.2 million Community Conservation Partnerships Funding will go towards weed eradication this year.
“The scale of the challenge is daunting, but I have confidence that together we can make a difference for our natural heritage.”