LINZ supports wilding control at Mid-Dome
25 November 2016
LINZ Biosecurity Manager Dave Mole, along with 30 other volunteers spent the day removing an estimated 6,000 young wilding pines at Mid Dome in Southland recently.
LINZ has had a long association with Mid Dome, and the volunteer days held each year support a much larger on-going eradication programme of both aerial and ground control work.
Dave says the volunteer days play an important and cost-effective role, to reduce the threat of spread in existing low-affected areas by removing the young trees before they start producing cones. The wildings eradication programme is led by the Mid Dome Charitable Trust, in conjunction with Environment Southland, the Department of Conservation and LINZ.
Dave sits on the operational board of the trust which aims, by 2024, to eradicate wilding pines from the Mid Dome project area to the point where any re-growth can be managed by landholders.
Aerial spraying is happening around Christmas on high density seed-source areas, and the site the volunteers worked on will be revisited again in four years time.
About Mid Dome
Led by the Mid Dome Charitable Trust, a programme is in place to eradicate the seed source wilding trees at Mid Dome by 2024. The programme is funded through annual contributions from LINZ, Department of Conservation and Environment Southland, along with other sources such as lotteries grants etc.
The Mid Dome project area encompasses an area of 68,602ha approximately mid-way between Invercargill and Queenstown. It features extensive alpine tussock, interspersed with pastoral farmland and remnant beech forest, and has high scenic value, and high importance for pastoral farming.
Lodgepole pines (Pinus contorta) were planted on 250 ha of Mid Dome between the 1950s and 1980s for erosion control. Strong prevailing north westerly winds make Mid Dome a perfect take-off point for the up to 1.5 million seeds these wildings produce per hectare every year. Seeds have been found 40km downwind of Mid Dome and up to altitudes of 1400m. The shade wilding pines produce eliminate most other plants beneath them. As a result, 475 ha of Mid Dome is now totally covered by wildings and another 13,000 ha downwind are seriously infested.