The accidental fire on Mt Cook Station (head of Lake Pukaki) last February offered a unique opportunity to assess the effectiveness of this tool as a wilding control technique.  Hundreds of hectares of dense and scattered wilding Corsican pine trees were burnt.  In July, Nick Ledgard, Dave Henley and Thomas Paul of Scion established a trial on behalf of the South Island Wilding Conifer Management Group.  Seed of introduced conifers, introduced grasses and native species were sown, to see how vegetation successions could be manipulated to minimise the risk of wilding reinvasion.  Just 5 months after sowing, it appears that the rapidly establishing grasses are likely to quickly ‘seal off’ the site from wilding establishment.  This is good news for the landowner - and the trophy game animals which inhabit the site - but not such good news for any native species trying to regain the dominance they once had in the area.

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A red deer stag enjoys the grasses sown to control conifer reinvasion of a burnt wilding conifer forest near L. Pukaki.