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Funding boost against wilding trees

Ali Timms

A long standing effort to rid Mid Dome in northern Southland of wilding pine trees has received a $300,000 injection from the government’s Community Environment Fund.

 The news was announced at the Mid Dome Charitable Trust’s annual public meeting in Lumsden yesterday. Trust chairman Ali Timms said the trust would match the funding, dollar for dollar, spending $200,000 a year over three years on a specific seed source programme.

 “We’re just coming into year six and it’s the most positive I’ve felt about achieving our goal,” she said.

 The seed source programme aims to spray the mature seed source trees on the western front faces of Mid Dome, Ms Timms said. “Until we deal to those trees we won’t be able to get on top of the wilding spread issue.”

 Ms Timms said it was really exciting to see some very good tools becoming available like basal bark spraying and systematic chemical brews.

 The public meeting, which attracted local landowners, funding partners and stakeholder groups, also welcomed a new trustee. Mark Sutton replaces John Aspinall who died last year. Ms Timms said Mr Sutton will add value with a background that includes 30 years as a Southland Fish & Game field officer and active roles in the Waiau Habitat Enhancement Trust and the QE2 Trust. “He brings some very good knowledge and skills to the trust,” she said.

 Southern Institute of Technology environmental management students gave a presentation at the meeting. Students volunteer a weekend of their time every year to remove wilding pines from Jeff and Linzi Keen’s property near Mid Dome.

Ms Timms said the experience gave the students the opportunity to develop hands-on skills and to make a real difference to the environment. She said they work in areas where the wilding trees are scattered and would be expensive for contractors to clear. The students remove some 8000 to 10,000 trees every year she said.

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