Reporting back

Control wilding pines

Date: 01 July 2019
Reporting Frequency: Annually
Category: Biodiversity and Biosecurity


Control the threat that wilding pines pose to our environment.


On track.

About this goal

The National Wilding Conifer Management Strategy supports central and local government to work together with landowners, industry and community groups to control the threat that fast growing, wild pines pose to our environment.

Why does it matter?

Wilding conifers have significant impacts on Canterbury’s native ecosystems.  Wilding conifers grow fast and tall, shading native plants out and changing those plant communities.  Where there is dense wilding conifer growth, this can lead to local extinction of these native plant communities, the drying of wetlands and riparian areas, and resulting impacts on native fauna through the loss of habitat.

What's being done?

Environment Canterbury is instrumental in leading the battle against wilding pines, stopping tomorrow’s forests from becoming established in our region.

Together with MPI, Department of Conservation, Land Information NZ, and NZ Defence Force, we:

  • communicate with landowners in priority areas about co-funding and their support for the programme;
  • assess the wilding conifer problem in each priority area for costings and work planning; and
  • prepare and submit operational plans to MPI for Crown funding.

In 2016/17 Canterbury initially implemented six control programmes in priority areas in the Waitaki catchment. These targeted wilding pine control in the Ohau, Pukaki, Tekapo and St Mary/Ida Management Units.

The wilding pines programme was later expanded to include extensions to Craigieburn, Mt Mary/Dansey, Upper Rangitata and in the Clarence Management Units.

In total more than two million hectares (43% of the region) has been searched and treated, at a cost of $8.8 million since 2016.

Before wilding pine control work at Braemar Station, TekapoAfter wilding pine control work at Braemar Station, Tekapo

Before and after wilding pine control work at Braemar Station, Tekapo.


Environment Canterbury’s operational budget for the control of wilding pines is $375,000 in the 2017/18 financial year.

In 2016, the Crown provided $16 million over four years towards a national wilding conifer programme.

Canterbury received about half of the Crown funding that was available for operations ($6,585,524).

Further funding came from two wilding conifer trusts, WELRA and Mackenzie Wilding Conifer Trust ($541,928) and landowners ($737,000) during the 2016/17 and 2017/18 years.

Our strategic approach to control has been the removal of widespread young, pre-cone trees and removal of the seed source where possible.

At Craigieburn (near Arthurs Pass), an exception was made to this approach to treat a large scale closed canopy wilding conifer forest as well as extensive spread, at a cost of $2.9 million. This highly visible site was selected to demonstrate that management of dense infestations is possible if the funding was available.

A business case for further Crown funding is currently being prepared by a cross-agency/regional council group led by MPI.

Find out more

Find out more about our wilding pine management programme and other plant pests.

Read about the work being done to manage animal pests in Canterbury.

Read the Canterbury Regional Pest Management Plan 2018-2038.

Read the Canterbury Regional Pest Management Plan 2018-2038 - Quick Guide.

Find out how ratepayer funding supports this work with our Rates Tool.


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