Are you on Aotea Great Barrier Island and looking to buy native, indoor or garden plants? Then check out these five reasons why it’s important to support local:
1. Maintain local biodiversity
Aotea’s native plants have adapted to withstand the island’s unique environment. When plants are grown from local seed, it helps to maintain the natural resistance of plants to pests and diseases and preserves the environmental adaptability of plants and the ecological history of the area. This practice is known as eco-sourcing.
2. Reduce your carbon footprint
Buying locally grown plants is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint. A single plant transported to Aotea by plane takes an estimated three years to sequester the carbon that it emitted as freight.
3. Aquatic plants on Aotea
Aquatic plants are often used to add colour to a garden pond. However, many of these plants have the potential to cause adverse effects to Aotea’s unique freshwater systems. To protect the island’s water bodies from aquatic weeds, exotic species like cape pong weed, water hyacinth, oxygen weed and parrots feather can’t be transported to Aotea.
4. Stop the spread of pests
Plants can harbour unwanted organisms that are not present on Aotea or are being eradicated. Buying plants locally reduces the risk of spreading pests that have the potential to damage the island’s environment, like Argentine ants, potato psyllids and plague skinks.
Plants and soil can harbour pathogens that may be invisible to the human eye. Buying locally helps to stop the spread of destructive pathogens like kauri dieback and myrtle rust.
Transporting plants and the Regional Pest Management Plan
Annamarie Clough, Auckland Council Conservation Advisor for Aotea Great Barrier Island, explains that Aotea is part of the Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area. This means there are restrictions on the movement of goods like plants and soil because there is a risk of transferring pest species.
“Through the Regional Pest Management Plan, Auckland Council can carry out inspections of things like plants and soil to stop the movement of pest species.
“There is actually a rule in the plan that says all commercial operators moving goods or people around the Hauraki Gulf Islands must have Pest Free accreditation,” says Ms Clough.
Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board chair Izzy Fordham says the management of pest pathways is crucially important in protecting Aotea and the wider Hauraki Gulf.
"A lot of hard work goes into protecting our island’s fragile ecosystems. Buying plants locally goes a long way to reinforce this work and it also supports our local businesses.
“Our board encourages everyone, both residents and visitors alike, to support Aotea by buying plants on the island,” says Chair Fordham.
Find out more about the Regional Pest Management Plan.