Nelson project hits top gear

10 Apr 2012

The Nelson-Tasman branch’s restoration project at Paremata Flats Reserve, near Nelson, has been turbo-charged this year with plans to plant 10,000 trees.

In recent years the branch has planted about 700 trees annually with support from the Nelson City Council, which owns the reserve.

But fundraising in recent months has attracted nearly $50,000 from donors, allowing the project to be done on a much bigger scale, according to project coordinator Ian Price.

Already 4,000 trees have been planted over two working days in March as part of the goal to restore the 30 hectare reserve, which is home to fernbirds and banded rails, he said.

The reserve includes river and estuary ecosystems, as well as a remnant of lowland podocarp forest, and the city council has given the reserve the highest ecological value of all the land it manages.

“We are thinking the replanting will take five to seven years and we aim to plant a total of 100,000 to 120,000 trees in that time and to raise $180,000 to $240,000 for the project,” Ian said.

As well as replanting, Forest & Bird has been trapping predators since 2007, halting the decline of populations of the rare banded rail and fernbird. Control of tall fescue grass will help the new native trees grow and encourage the regeneration of the forest remnant.

“This is a really good project that will restore a unique ecology that has been decimated in the Nelson-Tasman area and we hope to expand the restoration beyond the reserve,” Ian said.

With the permission of local iwi, Ian also manages a weed and pest control programme on nearby Uri O Te Wai (Bishops Peninsula), one of the least modifi ed lowland forest areas in the Nelson area.

Through bird activity, the peninsula is expected to be a valuable seed source for Paremata Flats. Many other property owners in the area are also undertaking pest control work.

Ian is keen to develop the restoration as a community project and anyone wanting further information can contact him at ian.price@xtra.co.nz