The kauri tree (Agathisaustralis) is widely regarded as an icon of great national significance and it urgently needs protection.
Attacks on its existence in prehistoric times came in the form of volcanic activity, wild storms, fires and landslides. Early Mâori used the tree for its gum and timber and European settlers’ milled and burnt about a million hectares of kauri forest, reducing the forests in the last 200 years to a small fraction of their former glory.
Recently, the most serious threat to the kauri has been revealed as a microscopic soil pathogen spread through soil and water movement. Since the discovery of Kauri Dieback (PTA) in 2008, incidences of this damaging fungus-like disease have increased at a worrying rate. Of interest to locals here is that, while the Biosecurity team at Auckland Council report that the northern parts of the Auckland region are comparatively free of the disease, patches have been found in Waimauku and northern Auckland.
Extreme vigilance is required to ensure it doesn’t spread. A lot of work has gone into initiatives around keeping the disease away from bush areas and now the Biosecurity team is working to raise awareness around the way livestock can spread the disease on their feet/hooves to native bush areas on private land. To help us keep our kauri safe they have provided this useful checklist.
Best practice to protect kauri in rural areas:
- Prevent livestock from grazing or entering areas of bush with kauri on your property where possible! Fence off kauri stands and/or individual trees to protect kauri and help prevent trampling of the rootzone (which extends out to the canopy dripline). Contact your council or a representative from the QEII National Trust (www.openspace.org.nz) who may be able to assist with funding for fencing off kauri.
- Avoid moving livestock between farm areas that have access to kauri
- All machinery and vehicles should be free of mud and soil (on tyres, mudflaps, body and underbody) when entering an area with kauri and when moved from one area of kauri to another.
- Consider the source (location and prior access to kauri) of livestock when buying from regional sale yards
- Ensure all persons visiting livestock (farming coordinators, veterinarians, stock agents) clean shoes, tyres and equipment before AND after visiting the farm.
- Where possible, loading of livestock should be carried out via loading ramps by roads so that trucks do not need to enter the farmed areas.
- Farmers should request a clean and empty livestock truck from their preferred supplier when moving livestock.
Call 0800 NZ KAURI (0800 695 2874) if you see a kauri with symptoms.
For further information visit the website www.kauridieback.co.nz
· Dieback is a fungus-like disease; symptoms of kauri dieback include yellow foliage, loss of leaves, thin canopy and lesions that bleed resin
· Kauri of any age with kauri dieback eventually die
· Work is being done to learn more about how kauri dieback works and preventive measures that will help
· Kauri dieback is in some areas of Auckland, Coromandel, Great Barrier and Northland