Prior to human settlement, the islands of Ipipiri would have been covered in dense native forest, providing abundant food and habitat for all the creatures that lived there. After human settlement, each of the islands was increasingly cleared for farming, which was the primary land use of large parts of the islands up until the 1970s and 1980s.
Restoring the diversity and health of the ngahere (forest) is essential for providing food and habitat for our native wildlife, and re-establishing thriving, dynamic ecosystems on the islands.
To give this habitat restoration a head-start, Project Island Song volunteers undertake annual planting events to support the natural process of Ipipiri’s regeneration.
Thanks to Project Island Song volunteers over 40,000 native trees have been planted on the islands since 2009. In addition, a huge thank you goes to the private landowners on the islands who have planted well over 100,000 trees on their properties.
Over 60 different species have now been planted, including the rare Koru (Colensoa physaloides) with its beautiful blue flowers and purple berries. Since 2003, the sheltered gullies of Waewaetorea, Urupukapuka and Moturua Islands have had native trees, shrubs and vines planted. These provide nectar, leaves, and berries that birds, invertebrates, and lizards feed on, as well as enhancing the habitat they live in, and are an integral part of regenerating the islands to their former glory.
Learn more about some of the native species we plant on the islands.
Kauri are among the world’s mightiest trees, growing to over 50 m tall, with trunk girths up to 16 m, and living for over 2,000 years.
Species such as the kukupa (wood pigeon), pīwakawaka (fantail), tūī (parson bird), riroriro (grey warbler) and the kotare (kingfisher) can all call the Kauri home. Another distinctive creature is the large kauri snail, a carnivore which feeds mainly on earthworms, slugs and soft-bodied insects.
Kauri dieback disease:
Phytophthora agathidicida (PA) is a fungus-type pathogen which damages the tree’s root system. It reduces the tree’s ability to take water and nutrients from the soil and transport it throughout the plant. This is sometimes referred to as kauri disease or kauri dieback.
There is no known cure, but we can help reduce its spread by avoiding any movement of soil around the roots of trees. That means making sure we stick to the tracks and have spotlessly clean footwear and any gear that might touch the ground.
Another essential way that we support forest regeneration is by removing invasive weeds from the islands.
Numerous invasive weed species are present as a legacy of farming activity, as well as from weed seeds introduced to the islands by the wind, birds, and human visitors.
Controlling these pest plants is an essential part of helping native plants to become re-established and supporting all our wildlife to thrive.
Would you like to support our forest to regenerate? Our volunteer Weedbusters team do vital work across all the islands of Ipipiri and helping out is a great way to explore the islands and spending time out and about in nature. Click here to find out more about the role and sign up to get involved!
Learn more here about the most common weeds we’re tackling on the islands or check out our Weed Management Strategy in full.
Family: Solanaceae (nightshade)
Major Threat to the islands
Originally from South Africa
It grows and matures rapidly, forming dense tall stands and producing many well-dispersed seeds most of year. Allelopathic (produces toxins that poison the soil), inhibits regeneration. It tolerates wet to dry conditions, salt, all well-drained soils, hot to cool temperatures, semi-shade, damage and grazing.
It spreads through birds, especially native pigeons, spreading the seeds. Common seed sources are gullies, roadsides, neglected farms, waste land.