June 29, 2018
Autumn update from the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme
Summer's control went as planned
Unlike last year, weather conditions over summer were favourable for wilding control and there were no adverse natural events (earthquakes or floods) affecting operations. This combined with the commitment of management agencies, contractors and land occupiers has meant that control operations are progressing largely as planned and to budget.
Programme partners in Southland and Otago made a good start in two of the five new Management Units added to the programme this year (2017/18):
Mid-Dome: The Mid-Dome area in Southland has a significant wildings problem despite community groups working hard on containment over many years. The funding injection from the national programme is making a major difference towards removing significant remaining seed sources and halting the spread. This year wildings are being controlled by a combination of boom-spraying (302ha) and supporting ground control operations.
The Lammermoors: Control operations have been completed in the designated control area (41,000ha approx.). This was made possible by a strong partnership approach to funding. Of the $400,000 budget for control operations, the national programme contributed around 60 percent with landowners, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), Otago Regional Council and community trusts contributing the rest. Control in this management unit focussed on removing relatively early infestations that if left would affect extensive farming, conservation land, dryland landscapes and vulnerable water catchments - including Dunedin’s water supply.
Consultation – creating an independent stakeholder group
A proposal from the NZ Wilding Conifer Management Group Committee and the national programme’s Stakeholder Advisory Group to establish a new and merged independent advisory group has been released for consultation.
When the Programme team reviewed its first year of operations, it was felt we could improve how we engaged with our advisory groups - in particular the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG). Similarly, with the advent of the national programme in 2016, the New Zealand Wilding Conifer Management Group (NZWCMG) agreed to review its future role and functions.
Both developments provided an excellent and timely opportunity to look at wilding conifer management and the engagement with stakeholders. Therefore, since late 2017, the NZWCMG committee and the national programme’s SAG have been exploring options.
Comments on the proposal are encouraged. All questions and responses can be directed to email@example.com . Consultation closes 5pm Thursday 31 May.
A ‘one-stop-shop’ wildings website
The revamped wildingconifers.org.nz site is now live. This is designed as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all those affected by and interested in wilding conifers. The site includes updates from the national programme, guidance for land holders, science research activities, wildings control good practice guides, links to the Wilding Conifer Information System, and a range of other information. We will continue to make improvements to the site over coming months.
Recording & reporting wilding information
The Wilding Conifer Information System (WCIS) holds information about infestations, operational areas and activities, and will give everyone a more accurate and detailed picture of the wilding problem across the country in a single database.
While we are still migrating data from DOC, regional councils and New Zealand Defence Force, we have rolled out the System’s recording and reporting functions. This is a rather large milestone, so congratulations to all involved.
From the end of April 2018 Regional Fund Holders must enter their field data through this System, so replacing existing paper-based field data reporting methods. LINZ has been training Regional Fund Managers to use the WCIS for recording and reporting their data.
All Management Unit boundaries set
The Programme has worked with councils, Department of Conservation (DOC) and LINZ to finish defining the Management Units for wilding conifer control across all regions of New Zealand. This lays one of the foundations for planning future operational priorities, budgeting and progress reporting.
Tree weed exemption round closing 30 June
The next tree weed exemption application opened on 15 March 2018 and runs until 30 June 2019. Tree weeds can spread and damage the recreational, ecological or economic value of land. Exemptions allow landowners to deforest pre-1990 forest land that contains tree weeds such as wilding pines without incurring a liability under the Emissions Trading Scheme.
You can apply or find out more about tree weed exemptions here.
National Programme Annual Report 2016/17
The first Annual Report from the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme is now available – Annual Report 2016/17.
A hard copy of the Annual Report is available, by request, from Jessica.Balfour@mpi.govt.nz