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New Zealand's wilding conifer management strategy aims to collaboratively prevent the spread of wilding conifers, and efficiently contain or eradicate established areas of wilding conifers by 2030.

A 2011 report identified that despite the collective efforts of central government, local government, and land holders, wilding conifers were still spreading by more than 5 percent each year. If left unchecked, these tree weeds would cover 20 percent of New Zealand by 2030.

The New Zealand Wilding Conifer Management Strategy 2015-2030 was developed in response, and informs today's National Wilding Conifer Control Programme. The Strategy balances the good and bad of conifers - minimising the negative impacts of wilding conifers, while keeping beneficial conifer plantings.

The Strategy was developed by the Ministry for Primary Industries and members of a working group which covered a range of perspectives. This work was done in association with the National Wilding Conifer Management Group.

The strategy working group members included:

The Strategy

Planted in the right place, conifer trees provide timber, store carbon, decrease erosion, filter soil nutrients, improve water quality, and provide shelter and shade for stock.

In the wrong place they are a major threat to our ecosystems, landscape and farms. They out-compete native plants and animals, remove up to 40% of water from a catchment, limit productive land use options on high country farms and severely alter natural landscapes. Wilding conifers may also increase the risk of wild fires and harbour disease.

Large areas of New Zealand are already affected by wilding conifers. If decisive action isn’t taken now, preventing them from spreading further will soon be beyond our grasp.

The strategy:

  • supports collaborative action between land occupiers, researchers, regulators and communities.
  • identifies actions under four principles:
    • individual and collective responsibility
    • cost-effective and timely action
    • prioritisation
    • co-ordination
  • clarifies that wilding conifers are pests, but planted conifers are valuable resources – radiata pine and Douglas fir are New Zealand’s third-largest export earner after dairy and meat
  • says that effective management of wilding conifers:
    • protects conservation values including native ecosystems and plant species
    • protects iconic landscapes for local communities and tourists
    • supports New Zealand’s brand of responsible natural wood products
    • protects productive farming and forestry land


Cost Benefit Analysis

An initial cost benefit analysis report was prepared in November 2018 by Sapere Research Group Limited

The Cost Benefit Analysis of the Wilding Pine Management Programme was done to work towards achieving sustainable wilding conifer control across multiple agencies and the community.

Another cost benefit analysis (CBA) was commissioned in 2022 and it reflects well on the national programme as it stands, while highlighting opportunities. It affirms the benefits of ongoing investment in nationally coordinated control and management of wilding conifers. The findings are also in line with the previous CBA published in 2018.


Other links

Here are some links to other related information about Wilding Pines: