New Zealand makes a big deal of its biosecurity, which is really just a scary name for the concept of "if it didn't come from here, we don't want it here." Thankfully, their immigration policy is not the same. They're pretty strict about plants and animals in all their various forms entering the country, and it's this strictness that is to thank for the complete and utter lack of poisonous things here.
However, in the good ol' days, some stuff made it onto these shores, sometimes accidentally and frequently purposefully, and this stuff has had a rather pernicious way of taking hold. The list includes (but is not limited to):
etc etc etc
and 10 species of conifers, most of which are pines, and all of which are lumped into Wildings
The wildings are a clever bunch. As with most invasive species anywhere you go, they're free of the checks and balances that native species would be subject to, so they've dominated the landscape in places. Yes, trees are nice and all, but they've smothered native vegetation and run amok.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) has several strategies in place to control the wildings, and fortunately, poison is at the bottom of their list. Feel free to read to your heart's content here. The tree-hugger in me cringes to witness the wholesale eradication of trees, but I can also equally respect biosecurity efforts, especially in island ecosystems.
I've seen photos of the Wakatipu area without trees, and it's a vastly different landscape. It's pretty obvious where heavy control has happened: it's like containing a forest fire except exactly opposite :)
Enough chatter; one of the areas nearby that has been controlled served up both an awesome vantage point and brilliant light as we were passing by the other day, and that resulted in this photo.
Good chance their days are numbered...
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