Gisborne District Council is returning a large portion of Gisborne's largest forestry asset — Pamoa Forest — to native bush in an effort to enhance the region's biodiversity and protect Gisborne's water supply, the Waingake drinking water pipeline.
Along with planting natives, the project involves extensive pest control and eradication measures.
Pamoa forest is a 1613ha area that was purchased by GDC to protect Gisborne's main water pipeline from the Mangapoike reservoir and the Te Arai River.
The pastoral farming land and scrub was planted in pine forest to prevent erosion and to ensure future income.
With the harvesting of pine trees under way, GDC decided to return a large section near the pipeline into native forest.
This will create a biodiversity corridor linking Pamoa forest with Waingake bush, as well as providing long-term protection for the reservoirs and the pipeline. Protection will also be granted for the headwaters of the Te Arai, Nuhaka and Mangapoike rivers, all of which are ecologically valuable.
Pest and weed management will be key to successfully establishing native trees in the harvested areas, as well as enabling native wildlife to rebound.
“Waingake bush is the largest remnant of coastal lowland bush in our region, so the Pamoa restoration is a fantastic opportunity to increase the area of native forest and the pest-control buffer.
“Waingake has the potential to be a biodiversity haven for indigenous flora and fauna and therefore a major asset for our region” GDC science programme manager Dr Graeme Card said.
GDC has implemented a five-year animal control and monitoring programme to protect and enhance the area's biodiversity and to maintain and improve the quality of the water supply.