07 Sep Natural Habitats and Farmers Combating Erosion
“The poplars will be planted to aid in hillside soil stability in pastures. Poplars are fast growing and the roots will help bind soil together helping to prevent soil slips on hills, while the sparse tree canopy still allows grass growth and pasture use. Keeping soil on the hills stops it getting into waterways and from causing sedimentation in our harbours” says Gael Ogilvie, Manager of Environmental Services for Auckland Council.
Farmers are battling with the elements to retain their soil and maximize pasture growth. Hill country erosion decreases the productivity of farm use.
“After hill country slip erosion, pasture production takes around 20 years to recover to within 70-80% of its pre-erosion levels. In severely eroded areas only a few stress tolerant weeds may survive. After repeated erosion, sites may become barren,” states the Ministry for the Environment.
Farmers in the Mahurangi and Southern Kaipara Harbour areas have grabbed this opportunity with both hands and are eagerly planting before the ground becomes summer hard.
Bev Trowbridge, owner of Muriwai Valley Farm, is delighted with the support from Natural Habitats. “It is a wonderful offer and will help our battle against erosion immensely,” said Trowbridge.
Muriwai Valley Farm is a flagship property of the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Managment Group working with other farmers & landowners to stabilise soils through tree planting and erosion control.
Another farmer to benefit from Natural Habitat’s donation is Mike Moss who farms sheep, beef and dairy on his 250 hectare property near Raglan.
“The poplars are very effective for stabilising hill country and also for low lying ground that is slumping. They are not only aesthetically good for the farm, but also provide shade for the stock and help increase production,” highlights Moss.
Mike even harvested and fed poplar and willow leaves to his stock throughout the drought last summer.
“Over the past 10 years I have conducted 14km of riparian planting along the farms’ waterways with natives and also nine hectare of wetlands. Both this and the erosion planting have increased the biodiversity of the property remarkably,” says Moss.
Graham Cleary, Director of Natural Habitats, finds it very rewarding to be able to contribute to the preservation of rural landscapes.
“Good environmental practice is increasingly being seen by wider society as part of the license to operate. A lot of farmers are investing to protect the environment and it is great that we can assist them in some small way to become environmental stewards,” says Cleary.