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Written by Nick Ledgard   
Wednesday, 25 August 2010 00:00

UPDATE  (August, 2010)

Current NZ Wilding Conifer Management Group members are:

DOC, Forest companies, Environment Bay of Plenty, Environment Waikato, Hawkes Bay Regional Council, Horizons Regional Council, Tasman District Council, Marlborough District Council, Environment Canterbury, Environment Southland, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Land Information NZ, High Country Federated Farmers, Landcorp Farming, Royal Forest and Bird Society, Scion

Below is a brief update to explain how we have got where we are over the last 18 months:

On July 24, 2009, the South Island Wilding Conifer Management Group met at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch – at the end of 3 years of research, funded by MAF’s Sustainable Farming Fund and nine stakeholders.   

At the meeting, there was agreement that the impetus of the Group’s wilding work needed to be maintained.  Members wanted to see the website continued and further development of the Google Earth risk assessment package.  In addition, there was discussion about the continuation of the vegetation succession research.  To this end there was an application to MAF for SFF funding to complete work within existing Milestones, using some ‘carry-over’ funds remaining from the 2006-09 project

MAF agreed to a short term extension through to December 1, 2009.  This, together with funding from the Group’s fifteen members, allowed a research programme to continue through to June 30, 2010.  During this period, the focus was on creating more user-friendly risk mapping and demonstrating this to endusers, organising visits to properties with wilding issues, assessing vegetation successions associated with conifer control, and maintaining awareness via the website.

As the wilding research activities extended more into the North Island, the name of the Group was changed to the New Zealand Wilding Conifer Management Group (formerly it was the South Island WCMG).  If you wish see a summary of work during this period to June, 2010, look at the mid-2010 Newsletter (link to Newsletter).

At the end of this period, a meeting on July 24 at the School of Forestry, Canterbury University, Christchurch, was attended by 16 members.  These represented DOC (2), Councils (4), forestry companies (4), Fed Farmers (1), LINZ (1), MAF (1) and Scion (3).  Last year's research results were presented in the form of a report on vegetation successions following wilding control (link), plus Ppt addresses on other topics (link).  All these (see links above), plus the meeting minutes (link) can be accessed on this website.

As at the meeting a year before, there was 100% support for the further continuation of the Group through 2010-11.  This was endorsed by emails from non-attendees before and after the meeting.  The main purpose is for the Group to become a national wilding 'umbrella entity, with the core function of gathering and sharing information (mainly via website), contributing towards a national policy and lobbying for regulatory changes and additional funding.  It was agreed that if we do not satisfy members that we have achieved this after one year, then we will go our separate ways.  Hamish Roxburgh was re-elected as Chairman, with Thomas Paul and Graham Coker (Scion) maintaining the website, and Nick Ledgard continuing as Manager.  A Steering Committee of representative(s) from the main member agencies (see above) was elected. 

Since that meeting, the Group Agreement has been modified and will be presented at a Steering Committee meeting on October 20, 2010.  Go to (give link) to see the Agenda for this meeting.

Any individual or group that is not currently a member of the NZ-wide Group, and would like to join, should contact the Manager, Nick Ledgard ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).  

Background
The present idea to form a Wilding Conifer Management Group and to seek funds from the SFF originated in late 2005 with Jim Ward (Manager, Molesworth Station) and the station owners, Landcorp Farming (represented by their Corporate Strategy Manager, Collier Isaacs).  Collier requested Nick Ledgard, a scientist with Scion (formerly Forest Research) in Christchurch, to approach all those with wilding concerns and to draw up a proposal for the SFF.  
    An inaugural meeting of interested people took place in Christchurch on April 28, 2006.  Eleven representatives of the major stakeholders attended, with all supporting the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) proposal and keen to become founding members of the affiliated group.  A full application for funding was sent to the SFF in May, 2006, and approved two months later in July.

The project formerly started on July 2006.

Our aims

The Project aims to promote and improve the understanding of wilding conifer spread ecology and basic control strategies.  It has three core objectives:
1.    Improving the assessment of wilding conifer spread risk, and the prioritisation of control operations.  The major output will be via GIS maps.
2.    Determining the most appropriate and cost-effective techniques for removing wildings and killing standing conifers - a major output will be a handbook of the most user-friendly, safe and cost-effective operational control methods, plus how to audit and monitor them efficiently.  
3.    Determining vegetation successions after wilding invasion and control, so that they can be manipulated towards the most desired vegetation cover (often native species). 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 October 2010 03:49