The South Marlborough Landscape Restoration Trust was established in 2016 to lead a collaborative response to wildling conifers across the region.
In 2017 the trust secured funding from landowners and Lotteries Commission to start operations in the Awatere Valley. The trust receives strong support from stakeholders and landowners and is committed to co-ordinating and leading a regional response.
By 2030 in South Marlborough:
Reduce extent of wilding conifers
Existing wilding conifer sites contained or controlled
No further new wilding conifer sites
All actively committed and involved in protecting from wilding conifers:
We’ve started operations in the Awatere Valley to prevent the spread of wilding pines. Our aim is to restore and protect the iconic scenic tussock grassland and alpine landscapes of South Marlborough. The trust covers the large area (8,700km2) of Marlborough south of the Wairau River and extends from the foot hills behind Blenheim to the Clarence and Molesworth Station in the south.
On the back of strong landowner and government support, seven local trustees; Ian Mitchell [Chair], John Oswald, Ross Beech, Peter Jerram, Alistair Shanks, Steve Satterthwaite and Simon Fowler formed the trust in May 2016. They were concerned that their Strategic Plan identified that the infestations of wilding conifers, and the spread from these areas, have increased and were significantly greater than previously thought.
This community led programme will help to maintain the values important for our tourism industry, as well as our farming community. It will also help to maintain the water yields for the viticulture industry. If wilding conifers are not managed there will be negative impacts on native biodiversity and ecosystems, cultural and historic values, recreation and fire risk in South Marlborough.
As we start out we are working on three main projects: Control conifers in the Awatere management area during 2018 and 2019, Prepare operational plans for Ferny Gair/Black Birch in 2018, Develop a new website and electronic newsletter plus facilitate donations.
The people and organisations that will benefit from these projects will be the Awatere runholders, landowners in the other management areas, our stakeholders [DOC, LINZ, MDC, Marlborough Lines, Marlborough Roads, the forestry and wine industry, tourism operators and their clients]. In the longer term the whole of Marlborough will benefit from the trust’s activities.
The South Marlborough Landscape Restoration Trust provides strategic oversight, co-ordination, fund-raising and national integration. Numerous people are, and will be, involved in helping the trust to control wilding pines.
Our South Marlborough Landscape Restoration Trust is modeled on the successful Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust. Our programme differs in that we will be working on controlling wilding conifers in the high country tussock grasslands of South Marlborough; a much drier, higher and more extreme area of Marlborough.
Thanks to our supporters: Awatere runholders, Marlborough District Council, the Rata Foundation, the Vavasour Trust, the Lotteries Commission and the Department of Conservation Community Fund.
We work closely with the New Zealand Wilding Conifer Management Group and the multi million dollar central government wilding conifer control programme, “Prevent the Spread”.