Tree Planting in the Abel Tasman National Park

Tree Planting in the Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman Tree planting- more than just one action

A family plants trees in the Otuwhero wetland (photo by Helen Lindsay).

When we think of tree planting we think of a day out putting a tree in the ground, and a pat on the back for that action.  But so much more goes into the before and after of this one act.

First the area to be planted must be identified, ideally a protected area where the trees will grow in perpetuity.  Then planning; what are the native tree species to that area?  Planting the wrong tree for the land type and environment just results in wasted effort.  With more awareness and research, it has been recognized that it is better to eco-source seeds from the local area. This is because location adaption processes occur within species, due to environmental conditions, which is why a manuka from Northland may not survive in Nelson.  This means sourcing locally- preferably from a patch of natives as close to the planting site as possible.  Just like us if you put us in a different environment, we are not necessarily ideally suited and may not thrive so well.  Like a Scotsman in 40-degree heat!  So, depending on how long that plant takes to grow into a reasonable size seedling, from the sourcing to the planting may take up to two years.

Biosecurity is crucial, you don’t want to contaminate the planting site with unwanted bugs or weeds from nursery potting mix.  After all these considerations, the tree finally gets planted and you still can’t walk away.  Depending on the area the tree may still need tender loving care, weeding, watering or just a positive chat.

But in the end, it is still so worth it!  When you look around at the many local projects reclaiming areas with natives, it is exciting.  A tree planted now will go beyond our lifetimes, benefiting future generations.  We don’t just want to leave piles of rubbish for our children to deal with.

We have founded the Abel Tasman Tree Collective,  enabling visitors to contribute directly to the planting of native trees in the Abel Tasman Region.  The Department of Conservation,  Project Janszoon and Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust are already doing this work,  our role is to support these projects and encourage and administer the raising of funds from the multitude of visitors to the region.

The Beech Project

Monitoring Beech Trees on Adele Island Abel Tasman National Park (Photo Helen Lindsay)

One of the first projects of the Tasman Bay Tree Collective is the re-introduction of beech trees into the Abel Tasman National Park.  Before the creation of the Park in 1942, much of the area was farmland.  While natural re-generation of native bush is more than well on its way in many areas, some are still lagging.  When hilly land is farmed, erosion occurs, in the park examples are the eroded ridges near Anchorage and on Adele Island.  Much of the park’s coastline has been cleared by fire.  The planting of keystone species (black beech and hard beech) would help in re-stabilising the soil and also aid in the shading out of invasive weeds such as Hakea salicifolea.  Furthermore, with the nutrients beech put back into the soil and the shade they provide, this would allow other species to naturally recolonise in these areas.   For further details on the beech tree strategy please click here.

So how is this to be done?

Locally sourced seeds are already being grown by Titoki Nursery and will be ready for planting in the autumn of 2018.  Volunteers from Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust will be involved in the Adele Island planting programme, while Motueka High School will work at Anchorage.  Motueka High School has already adopted a site at Anchorage through Project Janszoon guidance.  By supporting the Abel Tasman Tree Collective operators, accommodations and their guests will allow more funding to be put towards these projects.   Creating a legacy that will last many lifetimes.

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