Abel Tasman region cleared of Wilding pine pest

Kaitlin Ruddock
Source: 1News

The picturesque Abel Tasman may be known for its lush forests and golden beaches, but that image has been under attack by an invasive pest.

Wilding pines threatened around a third (approximately 7000 hectares) of the Park, but local conservation efforts have now achieved what seemed impossible.

The control project has successfully poisoned essentially all mature wildings.

Work to remove the notorious pest started nearly a decade ago by a group local residents and commercial operators that made up the Abel Tasman Bird Song Trust.

“Wilding pines creep across the landscape. One, two, three and next thing you've got three hundred,” says Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust founding member Darryl Wilson.

“So we decided enough was enough”.

They raised $650,000 before later attracting support from the Department of Conservation and conservation trust Project Janszoon.

More than a million dollars has been spent so far and as Project Janszoon Operations Manager Andrew Macalister describes, a lot of effort.

“You're battling wasps and thick bush and heat and cold and long days and it's just hard yakka”.

The adult trees may have been killed off, but seedlings will still need to be managed to prevent regrowth.

Those involved hope if anything is to spread, it's their method - which is now being used to control other infestations in the South Island.