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The Government has announced a funding underspend due to the COVID-19 lockdown has been reallocated to support control work in Skippers’ Canyon.

Wilding infestations in Skippers Canyon date back to the gold rush in the 1860s, when miners planted pines, fir and larch for shelter around the historic school house.

The main wilding species in the area are Douglas fir, European Larch and Dwarf Mountain Pine. Unmanaged, these wildings would completely dominate beech forests and tussock land, replacing the native flora with a dense forests of conifer trees.

Significant control work has been carried out in the area over the last 15 years and is now at the stage of targeting remaining coning trees.   Dense infestations of wildings have been removed, including 120 hectares of conifer forests. The next challenge will be targeting and removing the second generation spread of seed from the area.

The Wilding Conifer Control Programme has redirected funds to allow some of this work to begin now. $100,000 has been allocated to support additional ground control operations and helicopter-based control work to remove scattered wilding conifers and get to trees in the harder to reach places.

This will allow for control activity including manual removal, chainsaw felling, and helicopter control. Operations will bring in around 20 ground crew and 2-3 helicopters. Work will begin late next week.