New Zealand’s plants and trees are facing an increasing number of threats.
The latest New Zealand Threat Classification System report from the Department of Conservation checks in with the risks to nearly 3000 known native species.
About 80 per cent of native plants are unique to New Zealand but according to the report, an increasing number of them are in trouble.
This latest report has reclassified another 113 plants as ‘threatened’, bringing the total to 402.
Among them is the the kauri plant.
DOC’s acting director for terrestrial ecosystems Matt Barnett says “threats like kauri dieback, browsing by possums, goats, rabbits and other animals, and changes in land use, particularly in the eastern South Island, have caused the observed decline of 61 plant species, which are now in a worse state than five years ago”.
The news hasn’t gone down well with Forest and Bird, who are calling for urgent action, and want track closures and upgrades to prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.
They say MPI is failing in its fight against the disease.
In December a national pest management plan was announced, with the Government planning on taking a harder approach when fighting kauri dieback.
This included extra funding and tighter regulations around infected sites.
But Forest and Bird argues the two-year timeframe for the plan won’t be enough to save the native plant.
It is calling for the closure of all healthy kauri forests, in order to save the species.
Nick Beveridge, Forest and Bird Auckland, and Northland Regional Manager says they need to be closed “until they have upgraded tracks that stop the movement of even one speck of mud”.
He claims MPI has ‘systematically failed’ over the last decade to address the kauri dieback outbreak.
Forest and Bird is currently talking to all their branches about closing reserves with kauri on them.