Sunday, 26 November 2017

More trees planted will boost NZ falcon's chances of survival

The threatened native falcon, one of the world's fastest flying birds, should prosper if the new Government holds to its promise to boost forest planting.

Under new Forestry Minister Shane Jones, the Government has set a target of an additional 50,000ha  of planting a year, mostly radiata pine.

With a population of between 5000-8000, the karearea has thrived in pine forests, provided it has the right mix of mature trees from where it can see to hunt prey, and open spaces where it can nest.
Chifuyu Horikoshi, who has just completed a PhD in falcon behaviour and non-breeding ecology in Kaingaroa Forest in the central North Island last breeding season, welcomed the promise of more trees, saying the more the better for the raptor, one of New Zealand's few birds of prey.
"It's undoubtedly much better to plant more forest because that's a more suitable breeding habitat for falcons than farmland, and in the central North Island a lot of small areas of forest have been converted to farms."
She also worked in Otago forests on karearea. The two regions were in striking contrast. Kaingaroa, managed by Timberlands, is one of the largest plantation forests in the world, whereas Otago features many small forest blocks among farmland.

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