While it may seem counterintuitive to be cutting down trees, these ones are a significant problem in parts of New Zealand's alpine environment. They were originally planted in the 1950s and 1960s as research projects and in the intervening years have found the environment conducive to rapid growth. Their seeds have spread through the fragile tussock and alpine forest environment and are now a significant pest, which if left unchecked risk smothering the landscape.
As a part community engagement effort and part teambuilding day the Barenbrug team spent a day working on eradicating some of these pest trees. While there is a small number of professionals involved in managing the problem, the ecological trust requires the help of volunteers to support them. After some Control and Health & Safety training, the group tackled a moderately infested 10ha area of relatively flat ground. After a BBQ lunch we attacked a much tougher area to finish the day off.
The event was overseen by Environment Canterbury staff and we were guided by a team of professional Contractors. The feedback from Environment Canterbury was that a large group like ours made a significant impact over and above what they would normally be able to achieve, and they enjoyed hosting a productive day in our Southern Alps. From a Barenbrug perspective it was great to get out as a team on a beautiful day, into one of New Zealand’s most stunning environments, to help contribute to a local initiative that is making a real difference.
If you want to learn more about this project click here to watch the video.