New Zealand's wilding conifer management strategy aims to collaboratively prevent the spread of wilding conifers, and efficiently contain or eradicate established areas of wilding conifers by 2030.
A 2011 report identified that despite the collective efforts of central government, local government, and land holders, wilding conifers were still spreading by more than 5 percent each year. If left unchecked, these tree weeds would cover 20 percent of New Zealand by 2030.
The New Zealand Wilding Conifer Management Strategy 2015-2030 was developed in response, and informs today's National Wilding Conifer Control Programme. The Strategy balances the good and bad of conifers - minimising the negative impacts of wilding conifers, while keeping beneficial conifer plantings.
The Strategy was developed by the Ministry for Primary Industries and members of a working group which covered a range of perspectives. This work was done in association with the National Wilding Conifer Management Group.
The strategy working group members included:
Planted in the right place, conifer trees provide timber, store carbon, decrease erosion, filter soil nutrients, improve water quality, and provide shelter and shade for stock.
In the wrong place they are a major threat to our ecosystems, landscape and farms. They out-compete native plants and animals, remove up to 40% of water from a catchment, limit productive land use options on high country farms and severely alter natural landscapes. Wilding conifers may also increase the risk of wild fires and harbour disease.
Large areas of New Zealand are already affected by wilding conifers. If decisive action isn’t taken now, preventing them from spreading further will soon be beyond our grasp.
The Government’s 2016 budget provided $16 million of new operating funding over four years to tackle the problem in Phase 1, which will help control wilding conifers in the highest priority areas.
You can see what we’ve achieved in Phase 1 - Follow the quick link below.