Cost Effective Control of Dense Wilding Conifers in Abel Tasman National Park

Wilding conifers are invading New Zealand’s native forests and spreading at an estimated rate of 5% per year (1). Most native trees cannot compete with conifers and will eventually be succeeded by them, with significant negative impacts on native ecosystems and wildlife.

In the Abel Tasman National Park, wilding conifers such as radiata pine (Pinus radiata) and maritime pine were widespread, especially along the coastline and adjoining ridges. This distribution reflected their history of having been widely planted in association with early European settlement and farming ventures along the coast from the late 1800s through to the early 1900s. More recent plantings of radiata pine and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), found on private land within and adjoining the Park, primarily as commercial forestry plantations, may have introduced wilding conifers into the Park. At the peak, it is estimated that more than ~10,000 ha of the Park was infested by wilding conifers.

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