New plan to target Mackenzie wilding conifers

  • Maggie Barry
  • Nicky Wagner

A new strategy for tackling wilding conifers in the Mackenzie Basin has been announced today by Conservation Ministers Maggie Barry and Nicky Wagner.

“Currently, wilding conifers impact on almost a quarter of land in the Mackenzie Basin, and without further control they will spread and take over large areas of farm and conservation land,” Ms Barry says.

“Wilding conifers are a major threat to our ecosystems, land and farms. These invasive self-sown trees spread fast and are very hard to eliminate once established.

“Prevention is the best form of management. Removing young seedlings now, before they start producing seeds, costs less than $10 per hectare, but removing mature trees can cost $10,000 per hectare.”

“The Mackenzie Wilding Conifer Management Strategy is a comprehensive plan to address the wilding conifer problem and covers 535,000 hectares of land in the Mackenzie Basin,” Ms Wagner says.

To support this strategy, the government is funding three areas in and around the Mackenzie Basin from its $5 million injection for wilding control in 2016-17. 

“I am delighted that the community has come together to establish the new Mackenzie Basin Wilding Tree Trust and help protect their area from rapidly expanding threat of wilding tree weeds,” Ms Wagner says.

“Godley, Four Peaks, and Hakatere will receive an additional $624k in Crown funding. This funding will protect an area of 357,000 ha and provide a buffer to prevent the spread of wilding conifers from the North.  The Department of Conservation and Environment Canterbury will be managing this work.

“The money is part of Budget 2016’s commitment of $16 million over four years, for wilding conifer control in high-priority areas,” Ms Wagner says.