Hinewai Reserve

Hinewai Reserve

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“We need a few more fools and dreamers in the world’

This privately owned 1250-hectare ecological restoration project (Fig. 1) is managed by the Maurice White Native Forest Trust. The Trust also manages the neighbouring 192-hectare Purple Peak Curry Reserve, which is owned by the New Zealand Native Forest Restoration Trust.

The Reserve’s many walking tracks are freely open to the public.

Hinewai operates on the principle of minimal interference by creating the conditions that allow native plants and animals to return to lands that were mostly forested before humans arrived. They remove highly invasive and competitive exotic plants and animals where practical. Otherwise they leave things alone to regenerate naturally.

Fig. 1: Hinewai Reserve on Banks Peninsular just south of Christchurch (Image: Google Maps). The recent (May 2020) purchase of 37 hectares has extended the area to the coast at Stony Bay.

How this mitigates the impacts of climate change

  • long term carbon sequestration in natives and soils
  • wetlands
  • Pip, the electric quad bike (how is is powered?)
  • Gorse – the cost and carbon savings in allowing it to act as a nursery crop for natives.

How this mitigates the impacts of climate change

  • long term carbon sequestration in natives and soils
  • wetlands
  • Pip, the electric quad bike (how is is powered?)
  • Gorse – the cost and carbon savings in allowing it to act as a nursery crop for natives.

Explainers

Endemic species are those that evolved to live in a certain ecosystem due to natural processes, such as evolution and natural barriers that prevent them from moving elsewhere. These species are found only in a particular environment and nowhere else. This makes them more vulnerable to becoming endangered or extinct if their restricted habitat changes or is destroyed.

Native species can exist in several locations and countries. Many birds and marine animals, especially those that are migratory, are found in several countries.


Gorse: fostering the regeneration of native forests

In the early 1800s, vast tracts of New Zealand’s native forests were felled and replaced by farmlands. Gorse, a thorny bush native to Western Europe provided good wind shelter for stock and crops, and so it was introduced to grow hedges. By 1861 it was recognised as a pest species that was rapidly spreading from hedges and taking over agricultural land. But it continued to be imported and deliberately grown until the early 1900s. Methods to control it largey failed. Burning or bulldozing it creates the ideal conditions for the gorse seeds—which can lie dormant on the ground for up to 50 years—to germinate. Today, it’s considered the most costly agricultural pest plant in New Zealand.

But the very attributes that make it much hated plant amongst agriculturalists, also make it a surprisingly good nursery plant for native seedlings. The thorny bushes protect native plants from grazing livestock and other introduced pests: possums and rabbits. And being legumous, gorse fixes nitrogen in the soil. So native seedlings are both fertilised and sheltered. Once native trees are large enough, they shade out the gorse, eventually killing it. This can happen within a decade.

References and further reading