South Island native tree population gets $2.2 million boost

The government’s goal of planting a billion trees within the next ten years is a little bit closer with the announcement today of $2.2 million for the planting of natives in the South Island.

The money from the Provincial Growth Fund will be spent on trees for the coastal flats at Punakaiki on the West Coast and on restoring 34 hectares of kahikatea forest next to Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere in mid-Canterbury.

In total 247,000 trees will be planted thanks to the money, with the work being done by a mix of volunteers, government agencies and landowners.

The Punakaiki trees will be planted by school leavers and unemployed youth.

“Planting these native trees has multiple benefits. It’s good for the economy and for our regional communities through creating jobs, providing skills training and enhancing ecological tourism opportunities in the regions”, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said.

Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage noted Te Waihora was one of the country’s largest coastal wetlands and said the lake’s shoreline was once covered with native forest.

“Now there’s barely any kahikatea swamp forest left in the whole of Canterbury, so restoring kahikatea forest on the shores of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere has huge conservation and cultural value”, she said.

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