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The Wilding Threat

Wilding conifers are a scourge of New Zealand’s High Country. Like the age old foes; gorse, broom and rabbits, wildings have proved so content in New Zealand landscapes that their presence has grown to the point of expensive burden.

Exotic species have their uses and benefits. However species such as Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Corsican Pine (Pinus nigra) which are good timber trees can send wilding spread for miles if not properly managed and appropriately sited.

The most prolific culprit in many areas is Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) which is capable of launching thousands of seeds in its lifetime, tens of kilometres, starting as early as age six.

Wilding conifers are able to establish themselves in even the most challenging terrain and climate.

Their prolificacy means that wilding conifers have the ability to:

  • Suffocate all native vegetation in New Zealand landscapes
  • Dry up precious, biologically diverse wetlands
  • Blanket cover productive pastoral land
  • Dramatically increase the risk of uncontrollable wild fires, especially in the High Country
  • Permanently alter our most unique and internationally recognisable landscapes
  • Alter the habitats for New Zealand’s unique fauna; including sweeping tussock lands, alpine shrublands and even braided river beds, posing a risk to the precious birds and animals that rely on these ecosystems
  • Deplete water in catchments which are often already drought prone


Parts of New Zealand have already become thickly covered in green needles. WELRA is committed to protecting the unique landscapes of the Waimakariri Basin – before we reach the point of no return. If wildings are left alone, the battle could be lost as quickly as three years from now.

In the seven years between these photos, seeds from the stand of trees in the middle of
these flats have spread to dominant the area, dramatically changing the environment
and landscape.

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