What are wilding pines?
Wilding pines /conifers is the term used for conifers that are spreading across the landscape through windblown seeds from forestry plantations, homestead’s or shelterbelts into adjoining areas.
Why wilding pines are a problem
According to the Department of Conservation, wilding pines cover more than 1.8 million hectares of New Zealand and are spreading at an estimated rate of 5% a year. If left uncontrolled the problem will simply get worse over time.
As wilding pines spread across our landscapes they:
• Create a fire risk as they are dense and impenetrable with no road access.
• Can cause acidification of soils which leads to the depletion of some minerals in the soils.
• Use more water, so runoff is decreased which affects streams and associated fauna in the water catchment.
• Provide habitat for exotic pest plants, animals and diseases.
• The fast growth rates of wilding pines allow them to out compete and suppress low-stature native vegetation.
• It is well known that conifer forests have less native fauna, particularly lizards, invertebrates and native bird species than in native forests.
As the project works on multiple aspects with landowners, iwi, volunteers, contractors, scientists, tourism operators and government agencies we are able to coordinate activities to gain efficiencies and accelerate the programme for controlling the wilding pines.
The removal of the wilding pines will allow native forest to recover and provide habitat for native species.