11 Sep 2015

Minister declares war on wilding pines

5:19 am on 11 September 2015

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has announced funding to help tackle the problem of wilding conifers that are rapidly taking over the landscape across New Zealand.

High-country farmland invaded by exotic pine trees, Clarence River, near Hanmer Springs.

Wilding pines in high country near Hanmer Springs. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Five groups tackling wilding conifers have received $345,000 from the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund as part of the War on Weeds.

Ms Barry said wilding conifers covered more than 1.7 million hectares of land and were notoriously difficult to clear once established, representing a major threat to our unique New Zealand ecosystems, land and farms.

"We could think of a lot better things to spend out money on than the halt of the wilding pine spread but we recognised and acknowledge the problems with it because if we don't act now wildings with spread across 22 percent of our landscape within two decades," she said.

"They are advancing on our landscape at a rate of 5 percent a year and that's unacceptable."

Ms Barry said the funding would enable the groups to increase the amount of wilding control work they undertook.

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