Preda­tor plan a ‘‘good start’’

The Bay Chronicle - - WHAT’S ON - STAFF REPORTER

For­est & Bird has wel­comed an an­nounce­ment from Min­is­ter of Con­ser­va­tion Mag­gie Barry to in­crease preda­tor con­trol in North­land.

Barry an­nounced Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion will work with lo­cal hapu to de­sign a pest con­trol pro­gramme for Rus­sell State For­est to be car­ried out over 20 years, with an ex­tra $380,000 spent on preda­tor con­trol in North­land this fi­nan­cial year.

For­est & Bird’s North­land Con­ser­va­tion Ad­vo­cate Dean Baigen­tMercer says it’s a good start to­wards sav­ing the re­gion’s forests.

‘‘Con­trol­ling in­tro­duced preda­tors means the for­est can re­bound nat­u­rally and na­tive birds like tui and kiwi will be able to nest in peace and build in num­bers.’’

For­est & Bird re­leased drone footage in late 2015 to high­light the is­sue of North­land’s col­laps­ing forests. The ef­fects of pos­sum brows­ing are ev­i­dent - it shows dy­ing an­cient rata, po­hutukawa, and puriri, plus thin­ning canopies of taraire, ko­hekohe and re­warewa.

Cur­rently over 46,000 hectares of na­tive for­est un­der DOC’s care in North­land are col­laps­ing, the or­gan­i­sa­tion says.

‘‘We know it takes na­tive forests 20 years alone to re­cover from col­lapse, but also how suc­cess­ful na­tive birds are able to breed with on­go­ing qual­ity pest con­trol op­er­a­tions.’’

For­est and Bird So­ci­ety Far North’s Dean Baigent-Mercer says a pest con­trol plan for North­land is a good start.

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