If you’re as casual about details as my farmer and I are and travel a route often you don’t necessarily register changes.
But for several months now every time we’ve gone over the Lindis Pass we’re sure that we’re seeing fewer tussocks.
The hills we remember being covered in gold are rapidly going bald.
This can’t be blamed on stock. The land was retired under the tenure review process and is now part of the conservation estate under DOC’s stewardship.
Is this a conincidence or the cause?
Could it be that the stock, rather than harming the tussock helped preserve it?
Did sheep and cattle graze species which compete with tussock and/or did their dung provide nutrients for the tussocks themselves or bugs which fostered tussocks and frustrated competitors?
Is something attacking the tussock?
Or are our memories faulty and were the hills never gold?