Blackwood Bay, Small-scale Queen Charlotte Sound Site

The Macalister family is overseeing regeneration of a 2ha radiata pine plantation, planted in the 1920s, into native bush.

The trees were harvested by a commercial contractor in 2002, using the Wyssen skyline system, at a small profit. This money covered the cost of employing Student Job Search workers to hand-pull a carpet of regenerating seedlings over three summers, with a little left in the bank.

With few weed species growing beneath the 80-year-old trees and native bush surrounding the site, weed invasion is not a major threat. The pines on the adjoining Department of Conservation land were killed using herbicide injection methods after the Macalister trees were harvested.

Andrew Macalister regularly patrols the block for the odd remaining pine, mostly in hard-to-reach spots. He drills these trees then injects them with herbicide and has  encountered the occasional pampas and wattle seedling.

It’s been a satisfying project, with native broadleaf species already 3-4 metres-high in damp gullies and kanuka spreading up the ridges at a slower rate to replace grasses. The surrounding native forest is a good source of seed.

“The virtual absence of goats has made things much easier,” says Andrew.
Because the plantation pines were harvested before 2007, there is no Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) obligation to replant natives.

“In any case, in the high rainfall yet warm Marlborough Sounds environment the site is certainly on-track to meet ETS thresholds,” says Andrew.

Thermally-assisted hunting

A trial was undertaken in April 2021 in Blackwood Bay to look at the effectiveness of using thermal imaging to assist with controlling deer.

Ungulate Proof Fences in the Marlborough Sounds

A report was commissioned by Marlborough District Council which reviewed the impact of ungulates (feral goats, deer, pigs and sheep) in the Sounds. It highlighted some existing ungulate-proof fences in the area, and provides recommendations for the design of such fences in the future.

It aimed to provide Sounds landowners and land managers with inspiration and knowledge about a conservation management option that complements other techniques, such as predator-proof fences and intensive pest and weed control programmes.

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