7 Oct 2008

$250,000 grant for pine clearances

12:51 pm on 7 October 2008

Efforts to halt the spread of wilding pines in northern Southland have received a boost, with a grant of $250,000 from the Lottery Board.

The invasion of self-seeding conifers is a growing problem in the South Island High Country.

Government agencies, councils and landowners are combining to halt the spread of the pest plants.

In Southland, efforts are focused on the Mid Dome area, where large numbers of pinus contorta, or lodgepole pine, were planted in the 1950s - 1960s to stop erosion.

Mid Dome Wilding Trees Charitable Trust chair Ali Timms, says the lottery grant, combined with Government and council funding, will allow several thousand more hectares of seedlings to be cleared by spraying and cutting.

The total area involved is 300,000 hectares.

This year's control work will cover more than 47,000 hectares. Last year the trust cleared about 500 hectares of wilding pine seedlings.

The trust was formed just over two years ago. It is holding a volunteer work day on 1 November.