Queen Charlotte Sound Wilding Pine Problem
A trust which was set up last year by the local community, who’s aim is to eradicate wilding pine, has been helped greatly by the $90000 fund from the New Zealand lottery board Environment and Heritage Fund. The trust also received a $113000 grant from the Department of Conservation Biodiversity Condition Fund.
Wilding pines are pine trees which have spread from forestry plantations on to the native bush and grasslands. The pine trees are threatening at least eight types of native plant and many native animals, birds, lizards invertebrates and fresh water fish are also at risk. The Marlborough Sounds has a very unique look and the locals and the Department of Conservation combined are attempting to encourage native plants and wildlife to settle and thrive here. If the wilding pines are left unchecked the area will lose its distinctiveness and special identity which are all based on its natural qualities. This area is also frequented by many tourists and New Zealanders alike, who either visit to walk Queen Charlotte Track or are travelling between the two islands. If the landscape was to be altered due to the growing number of wilding trees, the tourist numbers may drop and not only does the New Zealand native bush and wildlife suffer but also will the businesses which are set up to encourage tourists to this area.
The first stage of the control programme will initially focus on the inner Queen Charlotte Sound and involves interjecting herbicide into mature tree trunks. If this is successful the control area will be enlarged.