Thursday, April 20, 2017

Rata

There was light rain earlier this morning, raindrops were still hanging from the trees as I went up to the Lodge this morning.  It wasn't early but the light was early morning-ish, soft and sitting delicately on the ferns and trees.



I stopped and just breathed in the peacefulness.  The light filtering through the trees seemed gentle.  And I gave thanks that I get to come to this lovely place so often.  Even when my mission for the day is to scrub out the toilet facilities.


I drove past a flash of red and had to back up to see what it was.  Was it there yesterday?  By the number of flowers on the little rata tree it must have been.  But I wonder why it is so late in flowering? I'd expect to see them in summer, November to January.  I'm pretty sure it is a rata.  I'll try to get a closer shot of a flower tomorrow. 


 I take it for granted, was probably away with the fairies as I've driven past this tree in the past couple of weeks.  The Tangihua Forest really is a beautiful place!

As possum populations have built up in forest areas, there has been a corresponding loss of rata.  Possums eat a wide range of plants, but show strong preferences for some species like the rata and rata trees cannot tolerate browsing. A mature tree can be killed in three years with intensive browsing and even young trees, although they can survive for longer, will eventually die if browsed regularly. 

I know my Australian family find it hard to believe how much damage our native possums can do to a New Zealand forest.  They are a pest here.  I used to find it hard to have ill feeling towards them especially when I remember my grandmother and her successive generations of pet possums.  

But the damage they do to our beautiful forests really gets at me and I support whole-heartedly the pest eradication and forest conservation programme that the Lions Lodge Trust for whom I work are getting up and running.  They have worked very hard to raise the money needed to support their efforts.  They aim to have about 2,000 ha under management in the next 2 years.

Some trappers are moving in next week to kick off the programme.   Before the eradication of possums and rats can start, they need to lay out 400 ha of bait stations.  As always there's a lot of groundwork to be done first like setting up grid systems laying out tracks and markers.

They now have $100,000 worth of funding, the support of the Department of Conservation, the World Wildlife Fund and the Regional Council.  Now they need help from those who are prepared to put the time in to make this a successful project.  I aim to do what I can.

This forest is beautiful and the only forest left that has no Kauri Dieback and we are very proud of that.  But it is way too silent.  There is very little birdsong.  We must do something to get rid of the introduced pests.  And we must do it now before any more damage is done and it really is too late.  

Sorry, I went off on a bit of a tangent there.  Knew it would happen sooner or later. It's been a while since I felt so passionately about anything.

9 comments:

  1. The tranquil beauty is almost palpable...stunning.

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    1. Tranquil. That's the word I was looking for, Lee. I posted it before I finished!!

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  2. Thank you for a dose of New Zealand, I have only been back in the UK a couple of weeks and already missing the wonderful native bush that surrounds my parents home.

    The conservation projects and pest eradication are needed so much. I read about people complaining about their cats being caught in traps in enclosed (!) conservation areas - what do they expect? I remember one couple complaining about how bad it was - yet they went away and left their cat to fend for itself for over a week. Nuff said.

    I had noticed the decrease in birdsong, but assumed it was because it was the end of the breeding season, but thinking about it years ago you used to hear a lot of bird song.

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  3. I can get on the same rant about invasive species. Man introduced these species without any knowledge. Now globalization helps to spread pests.

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  4. Your fine photos do show this forest to be a beautiful place. Good work.

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  5. Such a beautiful place has to be protected. Just as some animals eat others, some animals cannot be allowed to stay where they don't belong.

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  6. It looks like a lovely peaceful place!

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  7. I wish them success....I understand the rant.

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  8. It's good to know that they are starting an eradication programme there. I know in many other places the programmes have been quite successful.

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