Experts say 20% of New Zealand will be invaded by wilding conifer forests within 20 years without rapid action. Wilding pines threaten to overwhelm our native landscapes, killing native plants and expelling native animals.
In 2010 the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust began an $650,000 project to eradicate pines of cone bearing age from high priority coastal areas of the Park. The arrival of Project Janszoon meant the completion of this initial project was accelerated, and the initial strike was completed in 2015.
Hundreds of thousands of wilding pines have been poisoned, stretching from Tinline Bay in the south to Taupo Point in the north. Follow-up control has been undertaken by Project Janszoon and DOC, with the Birdsong Trust completing the initial control of some small remaining areas, with support from the Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve Fund.
Poisoning a wilding pine
Removing wilding pines in the Abel Tasman National Park has been a massive logistical challenge. It is physically challenging as you are forced to go where the trees are which can be in a patch of gorse or halfway up steep isolated hillsides, but the contractors engaged to do the work are doing a great job.
Without intervention, the ridgelines of the Park would have eventually turned into a wilding pine forest. Instead, you now see brown, dying pines and these before and after photos show the immediate impact of the work. Ultimately, the removal of pines will allow native forest to recover, transforming the Park’s skyline and providing habitat for native species.
Project Janszoon and DOC will begin removing the final 6 ha of pines still left near the DOC campsite at Bark Bay in the spring of 2017. A ten-year programme is also underway to remove wilding pine seedlings.