Potential vigilante Sir Alan Mark says he was insulted when Landcorp planted douglas fir in the Clutha District and may head a posse to rip out the forestry block after being sent an "unacceptable" revised planting plan by Landcorp yesterday.
Otago University professor Sir Alan said he was insulted when Landcorp farm Waipori Station planted a 189 hectare carbon forest of douglas fir trees in May about 50km west of Dunedin.
The planting put the nearby Te Papanui Conservation Park and the Stony Creek Scenic Reserve at risk from seeds being blown in and wilding trees growing.
Sir Alan's threat to rip out the plantation had Forest Owners Association environment committee chairman Peter Weir label him a vigilante.
“It's one thing for the professor to be a passionate advocate for environmental causes," Mr Weir said.
"It's quite another to threaten vigilante action and to incite trespass,” he said.
Forming a posse to rip the plantation was possible so Dr Mark accepted the vigilante label, he said.
"But hopefully it doesn't come to that."
Landcorp national business manager Graeme Mulligan emailed him yesterday saying he would take up Sir Alan's recommendation to weigh up the cost of planting 500 hectares of douglas fir on the farm in the next two years and analyse the cost of controlling wilding trees versus the benefit of carbon and timber, he said.
The cost/benefit study would be undertaken by wilding tree specialist Nick Ledgard, he said.
The revised planting plan says douglas fir would be planted 250 metres away from the downwind side of Te Papanui Conservation Park and a ponderosa pine buffer zone planted around the douglas fir would be doubled from two rows to four, he said.
The plan says the Conservation Department staff could co-ordinate helicopter surveillance for spotting any wilding trees originating from Waipori Station but the revised plan did not say who would pay for the surveillance in 10 to 15 years, Sir Alan said.
The proposed plan was unacceptable, he said.
Sir Alan formed forestry gangs to destroy wilding trees for 20 years and it was time-consuming and expensive, he said.
Sir Alan headed a campaign to remove wildling pines at Mid-Dome in Southland.
The Clutha District Council had no measures in its district plan to stop high-risk plantations but the Southland District Council did, he said.
Yesterday afternoon, Landcorp national business manager Graeme Mulligan said the revised planting plan adopted some of the recommendations from DOC.
Stated in the plan, they would not pull out the trees.
Landcorp was getting advice from its forestry consultants to put in best practice methods of managing the douglas fir.
But it was revising subsequent planting programmes and it would be responsible for its own plants, he said.
Southland District Council environment and community group manager Bruce Halligan said the prerequisites were designed to stop wilding tree growing from forestry plantings in high country parts of Southland, mainly Northern Southland, he said.
Douglas fir, scots pine, corsican pine, and all larches were a restricted discretionary activity in the area and required a wilding trees risk assessment and management plan and the plantations needed to be located away from areas like roads and wetlands.
Landcorp did not return calls from The Southland Times last night.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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