Getting the Port Hills regreening right – Nick Ledgard and Miles Giller

Following last week’s devastating Port Hills fire, scientists Nick Ledgard and Miles Giller call for a plan to make sure the regreening of the hills is done correctly, with the best science at hand.

A seeding trial site at Mt Cook station just after a fire, in 2008. Credit: Nick Ledgard.

An excerpt (read in full):

For many centuries fires have arguably been the most significant single influence on vegetation successions in New Zealand.

Recovery after burning has largely been left to nature, and the resulting non-managed landscapes are regarded by many as “natural”. In other words, nature has determined what succeeds on different sites, and by and large we seem to accept it – even like it.

But the Port Hills fire situation is different, mainly because it is so obvious and close to a major city that there will be many opinions as to what revegetation cover will be best. And perhaps more importantly, there will be lots of people and organisations itching to get out there to start restoring some of the vegetation features that have been burned.

Before too many spades slice the soil or seed is sown, there needs to be some forethought and planning, so that agreed objectives are determined and hence the right species get established on the right sites by the best available means.

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