The NZWCMG met this year in Queenstown on the 27th of April to update, inform and talk about all aspects of Wilding conifer management in New Zealand.
The Meeting was well attended with over 60 participants during the meeting day at the Memorial Hall in Queenstown.
Attendees came from as far as Wanganui and Rotorua to the mountainous south, but local participation was, as expected, very high and dominating as Queenstown is a "hot-spot" in terms of managing wilding conifers.
The morning on the 27th was filled with updates and reports from wilding conifer management groups across the country, providing an excellent overview on what is happening in the country and the advances and problems that these passionate groups are made or struggle with. (You can download the individual presentations from here).
After lunch the attendees were updated on new research and policy developments related to wilding conifer management. Research presentations ranged from updates on control techniques, e.g. new Department of Conservation Trials of new additives and mixes (Pete Raal) and herbicide uptake studies by Scion (S. Gous and C. Rolando) to coning and establishment of Douglas-fir in high country environments (T. Paul) and spatially extrapolated expert based risk assessments of wilding conifer spread in New Zealand (K.Lloyd). Duane Peltzer gave an overview of the proposed research programme of Landcare Research, Scion and BioProtection, Lincoln, which, if successful will underpin and improve our way to manage wilding conifer more effectively. The last two slots belonged to MPI (Ministry of Primary Industries) to update the audience on their progress on the Wilding Conifer Management Strategy and its implementation (Sherman Smith and Veronica Herrera). You can download the presentations of the afternoon session from here, including past presentations and reports (e.g. on natural successions after wilding control).
The NZWCMG AGM followed after the meeting and minutes will be posted to members in the next weeks.
On the 28th 45 attendees joint the field-trip to Mid Dome. On the way to Mid Dome the group stopped at a number of points to give attendees an appreciation of the landscape and surroundings of Mid Dome, which are often can play a critical factor in the overall management of a wilding conifer infestation in the long term. After an introduction in the history of Mid Dome and the Mid Dome Trust and its management plan at Five Rivers attendees were shuttled up into the Mid Dome control area by helicopter (courtesy of Nokomai Helicopters and Boffa Miskell). The flight into the area and the chosen viewpoint allowed everyone to grasp and understand the scale and difficulty of the Mid Dome wilding management operation, either be it by helicopter boom spraying or with ground teams killing individual trees. Certainly a great experience and opportunity for those who attended to understand the difficulties of wilding control in New Zealand.