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Progress toward Environmental Weed Eradication in New Zealand

  • Clayson J. Howell (a1)

Data on 111 environmental weed eradication programs carried out by the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) have been collected and summarized. A total of 21 programs were discontinued, and 90 are ongoing. Within the ongoing programs, four have been successful in that no plants remain at any known infestations. All four of the successful eradications had a total area across all infestations of less than 1 ha (2.5 ac); however, many similar-sized programs were not successful. Correctly assessing the extent of infestations appears to be a major problem for discontinued programs. Some of the ongoing programs are progressing toward eradication, but this is taking much longer than initially anticipated. The strongest determinant of progress toward eradication was found to be the identity of the DOC administrative area, for reasons that are only speculative. The number and area of initial infestations had no effect on progress toward eradication. However, the rate at which new infestations were located was negatively correlated with progress. Across many programs, progress was restricted by inconsistent infestation visitation. After running for a decade, DOC's weed eradication strategy has yet to provide significant dividends. Environmental weed eradication is clearly more difficult than has previously been acknowledged in New Zealand.

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