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Environment Canterbury today announced the successful conclusion of volunteer days to help eradicate wilding pine.
Resource Management Officer Coordinator David Hewson says nearly 200 volunteers had cleared wildings from 700 hectares of high country over three days in March and April.
“Thanks to all the volunteers who worked so hard at Flock Hill Station for two days and Lake Lyndon for one day to uproot or chop down the green menace,” Mr Hewson said. “Their catchcry was, ‘No green needles’ (to be left on the cut tree stump so it doesn’t regrow).
“The volunteers’ contribution is valued up to $10,000 a day and the days also help to raise community awareness.”
Volunteers this year came from from Christchurch Tramping Club, Pegasus Tramping Club, Rangiora Tramping Club, Canterbury University Tramping Club, Over 40s Tramping Club, Peninsula Tramping Club, High Country Fire Team, Canterbury Combined 4 Wheel Drive Club, PB Power and Union Rowing Club.
“Their work is very important because wilding trees threaten the unique landscape and native flora and fauna in the Upper Waimakariri basin,” David Hewson said. “The volunteer programme targets smaller scattered trees and complements the work of contractors who tackle the larger, denser populations of trees.”
Environment Canterbury Chief Executive Bill Bayfield attended the 31 March volunteer day at Flock Hill. “The country is magnificent, the people were brilliant and we all worked really hard,” he said.
The uncontrolled spread of the introduced species wilding pine in Canterbury is an extensive and growing problem that threatens a range of important values including biodiversity, production and landscape values. They displace indigenous habitats and species, obscure scenic views, disrupt expansive landscapes, reduce farm profitability, increase fire risk, impact cultural and historic sites, and decrease water yield in flow-sensitive catchments.
Early control of wilding pine can be cost effective and control costs escalate quickly if action is delayed and trees are allowed to seed.
The Waimakariri Ecological and Landscape Restoration Alliance (WELRA) was formed by the Canterbury community to provide leadership and co-ordination of wilding control work in the Waimakariri Basin.
WELRA has raised and spent almost $500,000 on wilding control work in the last year, using specialist contractors and helicopter spraying for very dense areas.
The Alliance includes local farmers, residents of Castle Hill village, Environment Canterbury, the Department of Conservation and others.