Winter plantings to expand native forest cover

Publish Date : 15 May 2024
Winter Plantings 1
Site prepared for planting at Puhinui Reserve in Wiri.

Remarkable works have begun in the Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board area, aiming to boost the natural forest cover.

It is widely acknowledged that the area is highly urbanised with a concentration of carbon-heavy industries and the second lowest tree canopy cover in Auckland.

Initiatives like the Ecological and Environmental Volunteers programme – volunteers carrying out ecological work through the guidance of park rangers, delivers on the board’s $55,000 sustainable, healthy natural environment outcome.

Board chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia says, “We understand the work ahead of us.

“The average canopy cover in Ōtara-Papatoetoe is currently at 9 per cent, which sits below the minimum target of 15 per cent under the Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy, and well below the urban Auckland average of 18 per cent. Trees play a crucial role in urban environments, offering a multitude of advantages and this investment is a step in the right direction.”

By planting trees, the impacts of climate change can be alleviated as they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, stabilize the soil, decrease the risks of erosion and green spaces with tree growth instrumental in reducing the effects of flooding.

“We possess a diverse range of groups that actively contribute to the maintenance of our flourishing green spaces. Among them, certain groups focus on the purification of our lake and waterways, while others concentrate on recycling and managing food scraps, our dedicated Neat Streets team, enviro-groups, and community-led conservation initiatives - where schools and community groups actively participate in the Pest Free campaign. Lastly, our community orchard planting day at Puhinui Reserve, stands as a recent addition to our collective efforts.

“With these winter plantings that the volunteers perform under the Ecological and Environmental programme, we’ll see enhancement and protection of the canopy cover through increased awareness and education across our area. This board is proud to make sure they are supported and valued.”

Planting days typically take place in winter because that is when the soil is the wettest.

Community Park Ranger Special Operations Unit Shane McNeill adds, “Wet, loose soil makes it easier for plants to establish their roots and keeps them hydrated in this early crucial growth phase. Plants planted in other seasons struggle more with dehydration and often require supplementary watering, which can be costly."

Plantings are usually planned a year in advance, this is because nurseries need time to grow the plants and to clear the sites of weeds to ensure the plants planted have the best starting conditions possible.

Where can I find planting days?

To find a local group or site that needs help with planting and plant releasing, email or follow Auckland Parks Facebook for upcoming events.

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

Being a volunteer and supporting volunteers is hugely important and take an immense amount of pride in protecting and restoring areas of native forest.

Get in touch with your Local Park Ranger to learn more about what opportunities are available near where they live by emailing:

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