Posted by Christina Greene on Sun, Oct 11, 2015 @ 9:35 PM
Independent groups take action in light of Auckland’s urban forest crisis:
A recent study has found that Auckland has just 6 per cent of its urban forest left, with over half situated on private land. Only 15 per cent is protected by Auckland Council’s ‘Schedule of Notable Trees’, which is the only remaining tool for tree protection since changes to the Resource Management Act in 2012. Study Co-Author, Dr Margaret Stanley, of the University of Auckland, said the city’s urban forest is in, “…a really urgent state of play.”
The benefits of urban forests are clear, with Auckland lagging behind the rest of the world in protecting them. “The study shows the schedule is failing to adequately protect unique native tree species and we need to do much better if we are to protect what is left of the city’s urban forest,” Dr Stanley said.
Charmaine Wiapo overseas a Ngati Whatua-led project to return an area of land at Bastion Point back to native bush. She says Auckland’s urban forest has become, “very fragmented.” In response, 200,000 trees have been planted to link up to tree corridors elsewhere in the city, providing food stock for native birds that fly between them.
Forest and Bird is another group taking action in the face of the crisis. As, “New Zealand’s largest independent conservation organisation that works to preserve natural heritage and native species,” the group is working on a wildlife network to connect urban habitats in the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges and Hauraki Gulf Islands. The group is also aiming to have trees with ecological value added to the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.
Deputy Mayor, Penny Hulse, agreed tree protection rules had taken, “…a bit of a hammering” over recent years. Thankfully, there a numerous independent groups stepping up to the plate – both to protect what remains and to create much-needed new urban forests.
photo credit . Albert Park, Auckland . Michael Zimmer