New report looks at ways to manage disappearing pine forest

JESS LEE
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2013

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As pine trees in an urban forest slowly fail, nearby residents are having to come to terms with losing them from the central city skyline.

The demise of the Western Springs pine forest, which borders Auckland Zoo, Meola Creek and Westerns Springs park, was first documented in a report released by the Waitemata Local Board and Auckland Council in 2011.

Some of the ageing trees now have less than a decade left to live, according to a study.

Failing trees are being removed as and when they pose a health and safety risk to park-goers or a danger to neighbouring properties.

Westmere resident Gael Baldock is disappointed to see trees already disappearing from the skyline.

"It's a big loss. We've lost this massive chunk of greenery in the landscape. I'm just hoping the same thing doesn't happen to the rest of the forest without consultation.

"They may not be natives but they're still an important part of our environment."

The report suggests almost 300 pine trees should be successively replaced with natives.

Ms Baldock is concerned whichever trees replace the failing ones they will take decades to mature. There is no sustained plan for the trees to be removed, Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers says.

"The process of accelerating failures is being managed on a sustainable basis to limit the impact of the rejuvenating undergrowth."

The Waitemata Local Board has commissioned a new report on the options for managing this process which is expected early next year.

Earlier this month Mr Chambers and fellow board member and parks portfolio holder Vernon Tava met on site with Auckland Council officers who are preparing the report. There will be an opportunity for public input next year, he says.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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