It is universally accepted that kauri dieback is killing the iconic trees to the point where they are threatened with extinction, the disease infecting the roots and damaging the tissues that transport nutrients and water within the tree, basically starving it to death.
The extent of the problem will not be known, however, until the completion of another annual aerial survey, which will identify dead or dying trees to help manage and prevent the spread of the disease.
Northland Regional Council biosecurity manager Kane McElrea said the survey, which would include the Aupouri Peninsula and the Kaitaia area, between this month and March, would also provide valuable data on the overall health of Northland's forests.
"Identifying where kauri dieback is in Northland will ensure that land owners, tangata whenua and agencies can better-manage the disease and stop it spreading further in Northland," he said.
"This information will then inform decisions such as which tracks should be upgraded first, or which activity groups need to be worked with and educated in order to reduce the risk of the disease being spread."
An aircraft would fly in a grid pattern while high-definition still cameras recorded every unit of ground. Any stands of kauri that looked as though they were diseased would be assessed by ground crews, and soil would likely be tested.
The Kauri Dieback Programme is a collaborative partnership between the MPI, which co-ordinates the programme, and the kaitiaki of those areas where kauri are found — tangata whenua, the Department of Conservation, the Auckland Council, Waikato, Northland and Bay of Plenty regional councils.
Anyone who suspects the presence of kauri dieback, or has any questions about the survey, is welcome to contact the regional council kauri dieback team on (09) 470-1200 or 0800 002-004, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More information is also available at the website www.kauridieback.co.nz