Dune restoration

The dunes of the Abel Tasman are undergoing a transformation with the sharp, thorny spikes of gorse being removed and replaced with native dune plants. 

As well as being an invasive weed, gorse is highly flammable so replacing it with less flammable native species like pingao and spinifex will help reduce the fire risk in the Park. 

Sand dunes are the natural barrier between land and sea.  Sand binding plants such as spinifex and pingao stabilise the sand with their rhizomes. 

A pilot dune restoration programme began at Anchorage in 2013 with DOC removing the gorse and volunteers, including Motueka High School students as part of the Adopt a Section programme, Forest and Bird, and Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust members taking responsibility for the planting and weeding. 

The early success of this pilot saw five other sites, Mosquito Bay, Tinline camp, Appletree Bay, Coquille Bay and Wainui sandspit also undergo a makeover.  Motupipi Primary School students have helped with the work at Wainui as part of the education programme. 

The effort by the volunteers to maintain the plantings has meant we are able to fast track further dune restoration work.  Gorse removal and planting will begin in 2017/18 at five more sites including Anapai, Onetahuti, Bark Bay, Tonga Quarry and Porters Beach.

Screen Shot 2018 01 17 at 11.15.55 AMBefore and After : Anchorage in 2013, and 2015 after dune restoration

Ashton Stevenson Kian Lamason photo Helen YoungAshton Stevenson and Kian Lamason from Motupipi Primary School weeding at Wainui spit, photo Helen Young