Tasman council proud of native forests book

Tasman District Council has spent $45,000 on publishing an upmarket book on native forest restoration.

Council biosecurity co-ordinator Lindsay Vaughan describes Go Wild – Guiding native restoration in Tasman District as a high-quality publication.

While other council publications are more modest, Mr Vaughan acknowledges Go Wild is on another level.

"It's getting us to a place TDC publications have not gone before, we are quite proud of that," he said.

The 125-page book is billed as "a new style of native forest restoration manual, combining the how-to with the stories of people who have done it, inspire it and live it".

Of the $45,000 cost, $8000 came from the Biodiversity Condition and Advice Fund administered by the Conservation Department and the rest is ratepayers' money.

Mr Vaughan justified the expense saying: "We felt it was a pretty special subject and needed special treatment and the only way we thought we could do that was take it upmarket – one that captures people's imaginations and recognises the people doing it.

"It's not an easy fit into a pamphlet. It's about ecosystems, predator control, thinking about biodiversity, it's much more than planting a few native plants."

Go Wild is written by landscape researcher Maggie Atkinson and ecologist Michael North, with photographs by Oliver Weber.

Mr Vaughan said it came about as part of the council's Native Habitats Tasman programme, following Mr North's surveys of native habitat on private land in the Tasman district and he had compiled technical information on how to do it.

"It is a 200-year project and we didn't want to overwhelm people with a 200-year project. We broke it down into steps, we wanted to capture some of that spirit and enjoyment and enthusiasm, celebrate what people have already achieved and share some of that information."

The council could have spent money on a series of publications but instead had compiled one integrated publication, he said. "People can put it on their coffee table and feel happy and it's also a reference."

Mr Vaughan said the book had been produced for advocacy. "The council has responsibilities for promoting and enhancing biodiversity on private land, one of the responsibilities handed down from central Government, and that's one of the reasons for having an upmarket publication."

It was not just for Tasman district, he said. "It's a much wider New Zealand state of the art restoration publication.

"People in Tasman are doing an amazing job, we wanted to record that, saying this is what we do, and encourage others to do similar in their areas."

The council has produced 750 copies of the book, printed in Christchurch, which sells for $29.99 through the council, online, at bookshops.

The Nelson Mail