GOING BEYOND BOUNDARIES… BIRDS AND FORESTS
CONNECT WITH CITIES FOR BIODIVERSITY PROTECTION
NETWORK OF TRAPS WILL CREATE A WILD PATHWAY FOR THE BIRDS TO SAFELY MOVE THROUGH THE LANDSCAPE
CONSERVATION collective Predator Free Dunedin, Wenita Forest Products, and investment manager New Forests have announced a ground-breaking partnership to increase protection for native biodiversity and strengthen communities in Dunedin, NZ.
Funding from Wenita will see Otago’s largest producer of timber join the vision for a predator-free Dunedin through predator control on its own forestry estate and on nearby public land.
The partnership will established a network of mustelid traps through Wenita’s Berwick, Maungatua and Mount Allan properties, extending into Silverstream – a treasured conservation area valued by local wildlife and communities.
“Birds that live, hunt and visit our forests also spend time in the wider Dunedin area so there is a connectivity between our forests and the city,” says Wenita CEO David Cormack.
“Wenita is funding this work outside its boundaries in recognition that the network of traps will help create an enhanced wild pathway for native birds to safely move through the landscape.”
The network will also extend to Wenita’s Berwick and Maungatua estate, laying the foundation for further expansion of Predator Free Dunedin’s operations to the south, and creating a ‘stepping stone’ for the future. Trapping in these areas will protect threatened wildlife and ecosystems including the fernbird/mãtãtã and unique flightless alpine insects — some of which are found nowhere else in the world.
The support will also allow possum control in Mt Allan and Silverstream, building on existing efforts by local communities and allowing Predator Free Dunedin to increase its operational area by 30,000 ha.
“Wenita and New Forests are demonstrating immense leadership and their support lays a very strong foundation for Predator Free Dunedin to achieve its vision,” project lead Rhys Millar said.
“Wenita’s contribution feeds into a wider community effort to target introduced predators and means we can extend into new parts of Dunedin,” Mr Millar said.
“This will have major benefits for native wildlife in Dunedin. More traps will see treasured birds like kãkã, robin and the New Zealand falcon/kãrearea flourish.”
Wenita is the largest producer of timber in Otago and manages a forest area of 30,000 ha.
“This partnership complements the work we do for our certification with the Forestry Stewardship Council by protecting native wildlife and preserving high-conservation-value habitats,” David Cormack said.
“Keeping the possum population in check is important for maintaining the health of the forest and having an evergreen canopy. This is not only important to Wenita as a forest owner, but to the wider community.
“Our forests are an important community recreation resource. We have been part of the community since 1990 and are proud to make contributions that benefit the environment that local people enjoy.”