Friday, January 12, 2018


DOC and their well intentioned if sometimes deluded staff manage to demonstrate the need again.

In the news drought that accompanies the NZ one month 'shutdown' came an advisory from the forlornly deficient government bureaucracy that struggles to manage the ever growing estate of our public lands.

"Don't cast redundant 'christmas trees' on roadsides, take them to a refuse station" was the publicised fervent wail, they could exacerbate the "Wilding Pine" invasion of the DOC estate.

Wilding Pine is an encompassing collective for several species of pine trees that have invaded large areas of public lands much of what are somewhat emotively classed as Iconic. These noxious weeds have also invaded equally large areas of expansive private lands that by very nature produce a low return per hectare and hence have a very low chance of being able to sustainably combat such inundation.

Contorta, Radiata, Larch, Douglas Fir,  Ponderosa, Corsican are included in the umbrella term and threaten to overwhelm tussock lands in a very short time to create a sterile habitat that has an accompanying serious fire hazard.
Much of infestation comes from wind blown seeds from state forest plantation onto adjoining land.
From the beautiful spa township of Hanmer Springs the surrounding hillsides are clear and present evidence of such invasive activity. Should one take a moment to look East from Hanmer, the Amuri
Range rises from the Hanmer River and there is one area sans Pine trees. That is my turangawaewae and it is a few thousand acres that succeeding occupiers have spent time money and effort to resist the invasion that came from the old Hanmer state forest on storm winds and established unchecked on the surrounding lands.

The Mckenzie Basin and Upper Clutha are similarly under threat but getting any government support for what was in reality a problem their predecessors had created has been fraught.
Some in DOC have woken up but the Xmas tree inanity only reveals an almost total dearth of understanding.
A seedling wilding pine needs to reach sexual maturity before it will create viable seed and I have never seen a Christmas tree yet that has reached what in nature is around one and a half decades in age and an ability to cone. So disposal that avoids what can be a salutary cost is reasonably "green" in that decay will be the only endgame for a tree that is in almost every case is only four or five years old.
Doc needs to recognise the by far greatest threat of wilding pine invasion will come from idjits planting plantations in an inappropriate location.
One such example has come to my notice where some deluded souls decades ago, planted trees in the Cragieburn range to replicate North American Skiing amongst the trees, and as educated people they should have known better.


Anonymous said...

Don't blame DOC.

As someone who works in wilding pine research and eradication I was quite surprised by the TV item I saw on Christmas tree disposal. My first reaction is to blame journalists trying make a story.

Yes, most of the WPs are a results of legacy plantings. Nowadays there are quidelines and restrictions on what to plant, for example, Douglas-fir is pretty much a no-no in susceptible areas.

Stopping the spread and control is expensive, time consuming and will involve nasty chemicals for years to come. And the current budget is inadequate.


gravedodger said...

Fair point ConnyPN, but the always gullible may not see the distinction, perception will be what it is.

Also my experience has decapitation below any evidence of a growth node with a lopper sans any chemical pretty effective.
Modern Battery powered gardening chainsaws for larger trees a blessing in todays attacks, another big advance.

I chuckle when file footage of hiviz clad warriors leaping out of choppers armed with chainsaws is shown, as if the bloody trees need hunting down. They are pretty much a stationary target unlike the early deer that recovery cowboys chased.

Good fitness training and there is a large pool of youth could do it as a gap year activity and unlike the pie in the sky CoL garbage on planting trees, destroying wildings is a 24/7/365 option.
A significant fear held by some closely involved, is some moron will use preserving wilding pines as a sop to the Jones charade as many suspected when H1 was formulating her carbon sink policies while earlier pioneering crusaders were being frustrated in gaining state support to attack the problem.

Hard work and time consuming - a bullseye, thanks for the comment

George said...

A good job for all those unemployed.
But not with chainsaws.
Scrub saws!
And axes
Remove the wilding pines and plant the area in forestry.