Wilding pines on the way out of the Sounds
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionFunds from the DOC Community Fund are helping eliminate wilding pines from the outer Marlborough Sounds.
Date: 20 June 2017
The Department of Conservation is delighted that funds from last year’s DOC Community Fund are helping to eliminate wilding pines from the outer Marlborough Sounds.
Dave Hayes, DOC Operations Manager Picton, says that the Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust was granted $50,000 over two years to commence implementation of its Outer Pelorus Sounds Management Strategy.
“The Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust is taking a strategic and staged approach to large scale wilding pine control. Significant control has been carried out in high priority areas throughout the Sounds since 2008, and this is now underway in the outer Sounds.”
John Hellstrom, Chairman of the Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust, says the Trust was set up in 2003 to restore and protect the natural environment of the Marlborough Sounds.
“The Outer Sounds sites are at high risk from wilding pines with large open spaces of retired grazing land being rapidly colonised by wind-borne seed. Wilding pines crowd out the native bush and threaten the biodiversity of the Sounds as well as the landscape values.”
Earlier this year, the Trust began controlling wilding pines on Te Kopi peninsula at the entrance to Pelorus Sound, and will continue when the sap starts to rise again in September.
The Trust employs contractors to drill and inject the wilding pines with herbicide. Small seedlings and young trees are either hand-pulled or cut using a pruning saw. The treated trees die where they stand allowing native bush to regenerate and dominate again.
Te Kopi peninsula is privately owned by Te Karearea Trust, which is planning to complete a pest-proof fence across the peninsula and continue development of the site as a wildlife sanctuary.
Hellstrom says, “Te Kopi is a potential BNZ Kiwi Recovery site and we're delighted to get started on this work for Te Kopi Wildlife Sanctuary.”
The 2017 DOC Community Fund is open for Expressions of Interest until 23 June. This fund supports projects that engage communities in undertaking conservation initiatives.
As last year, priority will be given to applications focusing on predator control and the War on Weeds. See DOC Community Fund.
Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust
The Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust was set up in 2003 to restore and protect the natural environment of the Marlborough Sounds. Working with landowners, local businesses, the community and Government, their vision is to work with the community on projects that help look after and restore the natural value of the Sounds.
What is the Trust doing?
In 2007, the Trust decided to set up a comprehensive, community-led wilding pine programme, to complement existing control efforts.
The Trust aimed to establish a co-ordinated programme that tackled pine control in a strategic way, dividing its management areas into control blocks, based on the extent of wilding pine infestation, access considerations, tenure, land use and landscape values, and working through these in order of priority.
How are wilding pines controlled?
Professional contractors are engaged to undertake the control work. Seedlings and young trees are either hand-pulled or felled using a pruning saw.
Mature trees are generally poisoned by injecting holes into their trunks, and injecting a small amount of herbicide into each hole. The active ingredient is usually either glyphosate or metsulfuron-methyl, which are common agricultural herbicides. This method is environmentally-friendly, with no discharge of herbicide to land, waterways or the air. Occasionally, trees in difficult-to-access areas, or where they are widely spaced, will be treated from helicopter by herbicide application on to the bark of the trees.
What happens to poisoned trees?
Poisoned trees are left standing. Initially each tree turns brown and loses its needles, during which time it will be very obvious visually. Eventually, it will become a dead spar in the forest that will rot away, with its branches and stem slowly falling to the ground in pieces, over a period of up to 15 years for large trees.
Why are wilding pines not being felled?
The felling of wilding pines has been tried in the Sounds in the past. However, it can make the wilding pine problem worse. Large trees break down a lot of regenerating native vegetation as they hit the ground, thereby opening up a 'light well' on the forest floor. Pine seeds like high light conditions to germinate, and dozens of seedlings can appear around the felled tree.
By contrast, chemical control means the surrounding regenerating native vegetation is not disturbed, and allows a seamless transition from wilding pines to native vegetation.
It is widely recognised as the preferred means of managing wilding pines in forested areas.