We must fight to keep our landscapes: Biosecurity Week 2022
Category: National. Posted: 25 July 2022
That’s the thoughts of the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute which promotes the activities of its members, who work to keep New Zealand clear of invasive species.
The Institute, on July 25th, launched Biosecurity Week, aimed at highlighting the work of all those involved in the sector.
Institute President, Alice McNatty said New Zealand’s natural landscapes are being changed or threatened by invasive species.
She said the spread of wilding pine trees onto some of the country’s iconic landscapes is an obvious example.
“Left uncontrolled, they pose a threat to production and native ecosystems.
“In parts of New Zealand, wilding pine trees now require millions of dollars and thousands of hours to control.
She said successes are beginning to show. Community groups and government agencies under the National Wilding Programme are removing infestations and changing landscapes for the better.
She said most landscape changers are less obvious.
“Freshwater pests like pest fish species and invasive plants are changing aquatic ecosystems, and marine pests can do the same in the marine environment.
“New Zealand now has some ambitious biosecurity goals.
“These goals will continually need new developments in technology such as UAVs, and management innovations like sniffer-dogs or novel control techniques. However, there will always be a need people power all the way from the thinkers to the doers. That is where the Institute members come to the fore.
“It’s also vital to get the community at-large on side and there are a number of community programmes across the country using new approaches which are having considerable success.”
Covid has shown the level kiwis are prepared to go, to respond to a severe risk when they need to. Many biosecurity threats may not be as imminent or carry personal impacts such as a pandemic, but many of them still need immediate response to avoid long term pain. Addressing wilding pines is a classic example,” Ms McNatty said.
Biosecurity Week is aligned with the Institute’s National Education and Training Seminar (NETS) which is being hosted in Christchurch next week.
The three-day annual gathering, the first in three years due to Covid, provides a forum, both for members and others across the industry, to discuss how to improve the management of biosecurity threats to New Zealand.