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PF Olsen to remove wildings for Environment Canterbury

Environment Canterbury has announced that work will begin shortly to remove invasive wilding pine infestations on the Benmore Peninsula in New Zealand. The work is funded by the National Wilding Conifer Control Program. Source: Timberbiz

Environment Canterbury is overseeing the work, which will be carried out by forestry company PF Olsen on behalf of Meridian Energy and Land Information New Zealand, which separately own and manage adjoining areas of land on the peninsula.

The aim is to harvest the pines for timber, which in turn reduces the cost of control.

Work will begin in late August 2020 and is expected to finish in February 2021.

Graham Sullivan, Environment Canterbury’s Regional Leader of Biosecurity, describes the importance of addressing the scourge of wilding pines.

“Canterbury is badly affected by the spread of wilding pines throughout alpine catchments and foothills; currently, they represent our most serious pest threat,” he said.

Meridian’s Renewable Development Program Manager Mark Harris says removing the pines is a first step towards returning the ecosystem to its natural state.

“At the beginning of September, we’ll start replanting the area on our land with a mix of trial plots of eco-sourced tōtara and sterile pinus attenuate, so unlike wilding pines, there will be no risk of seed spread,” Mr Harris said.

“This is better for the environment, and in the long term it will leave a lasting legacy for future generations.”

The removal of wilding pines is essential to protect native biodiversity, land value and iconic landscapes, including the Mackenzie Basin.