LocalMatters       

Trees of knowledge expanded

Posted at 8:00am Friday 18 Jun, 2021

Small forest owners and neighbours in the Whangateau catchment will be better connected to share information in future.

This follows a workshop facilitated by Auckland Council and held at the Whangateau Hall on June 6.
About 50 forestry owners, neighbours and interested people attended.

The purpose was to discuss ways to better manage harvesting in the catchment to ensure forest owners were well-informed and harvesting didn't compromise the environment, particularly waterways.

It was felt that one way to achieve this would be to improve communication between landholders and provide a checklist of their responsibilities and obligations. It was suggested that a virtual group be setup where resources and information could be shared, including experiences with contractors.

Forestry consultant Steve Bryant made the point that landholders were ultimately responsible for what happened on their land.

“That's why we're here, to make sure landholders go into any arrangement (with a contractor) with their eyes wide open,” he said. “Hiring a contractor who does the wrong thing does not give a landholder impunity from prosecution.”

The need for an inventory of land under forest in Whangateau, including Rodney Road, was also identified. Mr Bryant said the former Auckland Regional Council had compiled such an inventory and he did not see any major obstacles in updating it.

The second part of the meeting focused on post-harvest land use.

Healthy Waters senior specialist Adam Schellhammer said options included replanting in pine, planting in natives to harvest and planting natives for ecological benefits.

The Whangateau forestry project is being funded by the Rodney Local Board and, if successful, could be used as a blueprint for other rural areas in Auckland.

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