Positive results from survey of protected areas

The findings from a Gisborne District Council survey of the district’s protected management areas (PMAs) have been largely positive, particularly on forestry land, says environment and sciences manager Lois Easton.

PMAs are identified in the Tairawhiti Resource Management Plan as the most important areas for native vegetation protection.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) identified the PMAs during surveys carried out about 30 years ago.

Over summer, some council staff worked with DoC to complete a physical field re-assessment of 48 out of 315 PMAs in the district, looking at health and management issues.

A key finding was that the biggest threat to PMAs on farmland was stock getting through unfenced areas and preventing regeneration of the forest floor.

PMAs in unharvested forestry were in very good condition, while those located in forestry post-harvest were threatened by damage to trees and invasion of weeds such as pampas and wilding pines.

Goat control carried out as part of forestry management supported good regeneration of natives in damaged areas. Overall, PMAs in the forestry areas surveyed were in good condition.

PMAs close to the Gisborne urban area were most impacted by weeds, particularly the aggressive Japanese honeysuckle.

Ms Easton says the findings provide useful guidance for the council on areas to prioritise assistance to landowners in managing protected areas.

“Fencing of small and medium PMAs, and pest control in large areas, are likely to be the most beneficial actions the council can support to improve biodiversity outcomes.

“Further field assessment is needed to understand the state of PMAs in the district, and whether current regulations in the Tairawhiti Plan are effective.”

The findings from a Gisborne District Council survey of the district’s protected management areas (PMAs) have been largely positive, particularly on forestry land, says environment and sciences manager Lois Easton.

PMAs are identified in the Tairawhiti Resource Management Plan as the most important areas for native vegetation protection.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) identified the PMAs during surveys carried out about 30 years ago.

Over summer, some council staff worked with DoC to complete a physical field re-assessment of 48 out of 315 PMAs in the district, looking at health and management issues.

A key finding was that the biggest threat to PMAs on farmland was stock getting through unfenced areas and preventing regeneration of the forest floor.

PMAs in unharvested forestry were in very good condition, while those located in forestry post-harvest were threatened by damage to trees and invasion of weeds such as pampas and wilding pines.

Goat control carried out as part of forestry management supported good regeneration of natives in damaged areas. Overall, PMAs in the forestry areas surveyed were in good condition.

PMAs close to the Gisborne urban area were most impacted by weeds, particularly the aggressive Japanese honeysuckle.

Ms Easton says the findings provide useful guidance for the council on areas to prioritise assistance to landowners in managing protected areas.

“Fencing of small and medium PMAs, and pest control in large areas, are likely to be the most beneficial actions the council can support to improve biodiversity outcomes.

“Further field assessment is needed to understand the state of PMAs in the district, and whether current regulations in the Tairawhiti Plan are effective.”

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