Working with Farmers.
Our success has been achieved through working with farmers and private landowners to give them a 'leg-up' in controlling wilding conifers on their properties. In total we have cleared wildings from over 300,000 ha of land of which includes the Dunstan, Hawkdun, St Mary/Ida, Kakanui and Rock and Pillar Ranges.
An important aspect of wilding control has been to not only control the spread but to identify the seed source and to work with landowners to reduce the impact of existing plantings. This can be a complex issue which requires an understanding of wind and weather patterns to identify the most likely seed source , especially when wildings are occurring as far as 20 km from the nearest conifer plantings of the same species!
The most common seed sources are from homestead plantings, farm shelterbelts, forestry plantations or amenity plantings around townships. We consider the role that these conifers play in the cultural and physical landscape and work with landowners and the council in considering alternative species that do not present a wilding problem.
Working with forest owners
Commercial forestry that was established on marginal high country in the South Island in the 80's and 90's, in some cases by the government, has in many instances lead to a serious problem of wilding spread onto adjacent land. This land is often extensively grazed farm land or ungrazed conservation area. Our group works with forest owners and land owners to manage and co-ordinate control programmes on adjacent land and to encourage forest owners to replant high risk sites in non-spreading species, remove high spread prone species such as Pinus contorta from their forests and to remove some forests altogether. The aim is to achieve enduring solutions to wilding spread.
One of the questions we continually ask ourselves is 'what is the end goal of the land we are working on?' Our control methods vary depending on the outcome sought for the land we are protecting. In the higher country and on conservation land we tend to use control methods that avoid inhibiting natural regeneration. On lower farming country we often encourage control methods in conjunction with land development that will increase the stocking rate to a level that will achieve wilding control. Areas at lower altitude that have been invaded by wildings and that are sought for nature conservation often require active restoration through planting native species and follow-up weed control. We work with local conservation groups such as Haehaeata Natural Heitage Trust and Mokihi Restoration Trust to co-ordinate wilding control with restoration work.