PROTECTING OUR WILDLIFE
City Forests recognises the importance of biodiversity in its forests and has an active programme of working with other organisations to monitor the presence of a number of bird, animal and fish species which have made our forests ‘home’. The company’s forests provide a protected environment for these species.
The New Zealand falcon/karearea is known to inhabit the unique combination of open clearfelled areas and standing forest in the company's Tokoiti and Waipori forests. With a total estimated population of only 3,000 pairs, this bird is particularly vulnerable. City Forests contributes to a national a database of sightings, and together with other Plantation Forest owners is looking at ways to use our local knowledge of the species to enhance national protection efforts. We have joined forces with a neighbouring forestry company and with the Regional Council to co-fund a major study of falcon breeding success in Otago's plantation forests. The study, which started in spring 2016, will run for three years, and is being headed by Graham Parker of Parker Conservation.
A rare east coast South Island robin/kakaruai population exists in small numbers in Flagstaff and in Silverpeaks forests. The University of Otago Zoology Department monitors numbers, distribution and breeding, and City Forests is contributing to this programme. The University of Otago and DOC have now translocated two groups of birds from Silverpeaks Forest to the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, with the cooperation of City Forests. As far as is possible we are also managing our harvesting activities around the research and management of the species. In more recent times City Forests has been helping fund a multi-year University of Otago led study of Robin breeding success in response to possum control operations in our Silverpeaks forest.
DOC has been investigating restoration potential projects of a threatened Eldon’s galaxias/native fish population in Waipori Forest, and City Forests has been working with DOC to help initiate this work. Trout predation remains a key concern and we are looking at establishing new exclusion areas. The population is one of only sixteen known.
City Forests and Fish & Game Otago share in the ownership of the Tokomairiro Wetland, on which there is a QE2 Open Space Covenant. The wetland is an important habitat for South Island fern bird/kotata. Spotless crake/puweto and bittern/matuku have also been recorded.
Other ‘unusual’ species in the forests include a population of crimson rosella in Flagstaff Forest and a herd of wild horses in Tokoiti Forest.