Waikato Regional Council is taking control of wilding pines in new locations in the Coromandel Peninsula after receiving funding from the Ministry of Primary Industries' wilding pine control programme.
The new locations for control work include Opito Bay and Whenuakite, with work already completed at Black Jack Reserve and on AhuAhu/Great Mercury Island. Work continues on the Matarangi Bluff Scenic Reserve. In Whenuakite, the control sites are on a total of about 108ha of private land in Boat Harbour Rd.
Waikato Regional Council project manager Clark McMichael says mature coning trees will be controlled by drilling and filling with herbicide or chainsawing, while seedlings and smaller trees will be hand-pulled or hand-sawn.
"Wilding pines are a threat to biodiversity and the primary sector and, if nothing is done to control them, within 30 years they will have taken over significant parts of New Zealand's iconic landscapes and unique natural habitats."
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Wilding pines are fertile and grow fast to form a dense canopy that shades the forest floor, killing and preventing the growth of other plant species and displacing the habitat of native animal species.
The Coromandel Peninsula has many iconic New Zealand native species, including Coromandel brown kiwi, kākā, long-tailed bats and kauri.
"Wilding pine control also presents a potential risk to these species through disturbance, so we have surveyed the sites for their presence and have strict procedures in place where they exist. No wilding pines will be felled where kākā or kiwi are nesting or bats roosting."
In 2020, the Government allocated funding of $100 million over four years to expand the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme, which is managed by Biosecurity New Zealand, a business management unit of the Ministry for Primary Industries.
About $1.3m went towards nine community projects in Coromandel and Taupō.
Kūaotunu Peninsula Trust, supported by the Opito Bay Ratepayers Association, Project Kiwi Trust and Rings Beach Wetland Group, applied for the funding for the control work in Opito Bay and other parts of the Kūaotunu Peninsula.
To find out more about the community projects in the Waikato click here.