War on Weeds Dirty Dozen 2016 revealedConservation
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has announced this year’s Dirty Dozen plants as part of the ongoing War on Weeds.
“This year we are going to have a baker’s dozen of weeds – with enemy number one the wilding conifer,” Ms Barry says.
“Wildings now cover approximately 1.8 million hectares of land and are advancing at around 5 per cent a year. They transform entire landscapes, ruin native ecosystems and take over productive land indiscriminately.
“Budget 2016 committed an extra $16 million over the next four years to control their spread and by working with regional councils, landowners and community groups we believe we can stem their advance.”
Launched last year, the War on Weeds is a concerted effort to raise the profile of invasive plant species damaging New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity and encourage more people to get involved with their control.
The first Dirty Dozen were revealed last spring, and were chosen to highlight and focus on weeds which everyone would be able to identify and help to remove with minimal equipment.
Two weeds have been added to the original Dozen, with Darwin’s barberry and Japanese honeysuckle replacing lantana and periwinkle.
Darwin’s barberry is an invasive plant of particular concern in the lower South Island – it replaces shrubland and regenerating forest and can be transported long distances by starlings.
Japanese honeysuckle is a popular garden plant, but one which forms dense masses which smother natives.
“We know that it’s possible to eradicate weeds. Stephens Island in the Cook Strait, once infested with tradescantia or wandering willie, is now believed to be free of the weed thanks to the concerted efforts of DOC and the local iwi over a decade.
“Through the War on Weeds DOC is increasing its own weed control work, supporting community groups and helping them to expand what they do.
“Last year the DOC Community Fund gave out more than $1.2 million to weed control efforts. By working together, we can make a difference and safeguard our natural heritage for future generations.”
For more on the War on Weeds and the Dirty Dozen for 2016, visit http://www.doc.govt.nz/our-work/war-on-weeds/the-dirty-dozen/