The 4,000-hectare Maungataniwha Pine Forest adjacent to our Maungataniwha Native Forest property was once mature native forest. It was logged progressively and then burned before being put under pine.
We took ownership of the block with the aim of converting the pine plantation back to regenerating native forest. The last pine trees were felled in November 2018 and over 3,500 hectares are now being re-converted back to native forest.
The conversion of the Maungataniwha Pine Forest is the largest project of its kind in New Zealand. It is our biggest and most expensive single undertaking.
There is sufficient native species seed in the soil to enable natural regeneration but the major challenge, and cost, is the elimination of regenerating pine seedlings which crowd out the slower growing native forest species.
The grasses are the first to take hold; native species like hookgrass and toetoe. Then shrubs or small trees like mahoe and wineberry. These are followed by mountain cabbage-tree, kanuka and native fuschia. Once these species have re-colonised the land the stage is set for larger stuff such as red and silver beech.
Native birds such as kereru and silvereyes play a vital role in the regeneration.
It takes a decade to clear logged land of Wilding pines completely and to get it to the point where it can be described as fully regenerated. During this time we nurture, treat and monitor the land to ensure that the species we expect to appear do so.
About a third of the area, 1,400 hectares, can now be described as clear of regenerating pines and successfully regenerated with native species.
The Trust, which was established in 2006 to provide direction and funding for the restoration of threatened species of native fauna and flora in forests within the Central North Island, uses a mix of aerial spraying and manual clearance methods.
DOC is interested in the land stewardship methods and spray mix used by the Trust to encourage the growth of native plants while inhibiting these ‘wilding’ pines.