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.
Protecting our wildlife
The New Zealand falcon/karearea is known to inhabit the unique combination of open clearfelled areas and standing forest all over the City Forests estate. With a total estimated population of only 3,000 pairs, this bird is particularly vulnerable. City Forests contributes sightings to a locally based falcon research team, and together with other Plantation Forest owners is working on a joint research effort to enhance both local and national protection efforts.
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 has monitored numbers, distribution and breeding over a number of years, and City Forests has contributed 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 helped fund a multi-year University of Otago led study of Robin breeding success in response to possum control operations in our Silverpeaks forest.
City Forests is progressing a potential restoration project of the threatened Eldon’s galaxias/native fish population in Waipori Forest, with the expertise and field work of Richard Allibone's Water Ways Consulting. Trout predation remains a key concern and we are looking at establishing new exclusion areas and ways to remove trout from difficult areas. The population is one of only eighteen 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.