Wild threats no response to wilding threat

Forest Owners are justifiably dismayed at the suggestion Sir Alan Mark might assemble a group of activists to rip out forest seedlings on a farm near Dunedin.

Forest Owners are justifiably dismayed at the suggestion Sir Alan Mark might assemble a group of activists to rip out forest seedlings on a farm near Dunedin.
“It’s one thing for the professor to be a passionate advocate for environmental causes. It’s quite another to threaten vigilante action and to incite trespass,” says FOA Environment Committee chair Peter Weir.
The farm, Waipori Station, is owned by Landcorp. Sir Alan’s concern is Douglas-firs planted as a carbon forest on a 189 block neighbouring Te Papanui Conservation Park and the Stony Creek Scenic Reserve.
Sir Alan is fearful that wilding Douglas-fir will spread through these important tussock land reserves from seeds blown from the plantation. It is an issue he is passionate about. Sir Alan led a major campaign to remove wildling pines from thousands of hectares at Mid-Dome in Southland and has previously helped Landcorp remove wildling pines from Waipori Station.
He told Radio New Zealand yesterday that he might lead a group to the site to remove the trees if Landcorp will not.
Mr Weir says higher rainfall areas of the South Island high country are very good for growing Douglas-fir. It produces high value timber, much preferred for building in Otago and Southland, and is ideal for carbon sequestration.
“It is unfortunate that Landcorp is being criticised for addressing their on-farm greenhouse gas emissions in such a productive way. It’s also unfortunate that the proposed National Environmental Standard (NES) for Plantation Forestry has yet to get approval from government, because it includes a wilding risk calculator that drives rules for afforestation,” he says
“If the NES were in effect then the rules around afforestation would be much clearer for all land owners.
“Yes, there is a risk of wildling spread. But this can be mitigated by planting a Ponderosa pine buffer zone around the Douglas-fir, surrounded in turn by grazing land. Any seeds that do escape and grow into young trees are then easily controlled before they start producing cones. There is a 10 year window to eradicate any escapees before they produce fertile seeds.”
He says these form a suite of good forest management practices for forestry in the high country and have been adopted by Landcorp.
“Land owners have the right to plant forests, so long as they manage them responsibly,” Mr Weir says
“For a respected person like Sir Alan to suggest a planted forest be ripped out fills us with dismay. It’s not as if high country forestry is a new issue, or that he has exhausted all his legal options … not that this would justify vigilante action anyway.”
Wilding trees are a significant concern in the South Island high country but the risk of them spreading from forests is one that can be managed.
The threat of vigilante action at any time is unacceptable. In this case it is even more extreme when Landcorp appears to have a management plan which will ensure there isn’t a problem with the spread of wilding firs.
Radio NZ has more here.

3 Responses to Wild threats no response to wilding threat

  1. Cadwallader says:

    No respect forprivate property rights! Why are wilding pines such a big issue in inland Canterbury and Otago? The odd pine dotted about provide shelter in both winter and summer for stock.


  2. Quintin Hogg says:

    Sir Alans threat to engage in vigilante action demeans him.

    One of those situations were keeping one’s mouth firmly shut removes the risk of inserting ones foot.


  3. southernmtber says:

    the ‘vigilante’ tactics reflect the extreme threat that wilding pines pose to the Otago high country tussock-land. Not only Otago high country is also subject to the destruction of hundreds of hectares of high country tussock-land by ploughing. For examples look behind Lawrence, Lake Onslow or at the head of the Catlins River. The Otago Regional Council does nothing, hence the efforts of the ‘activists’.


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