Infill planting for a biodiversity gem in the Rangitīkei District

Horizons Regional Council staff were joined by a range of parties at an infill planting day for Betty Tripe Reserve in the Rangitīkei District at the end of last month.

Horizons biodiversity advisor Neil Gallagher says the 4 hectare reserve is a site of biodiversity significance as it includes numerous mature native trees, however has holes in it that need filling.

“With help from the landowners, Rangitīkei District Council staff, Forest & Bird volunteers, iwi and interested locals we got 4,000 natives planted to fill a significant gap in the bush,” he says.

“This infill planting is a way to restore the forest by regenerating native species, increasing the amount of habitat that provides food supplies for native birds and insects, and reducing space for pest plants to establish.

“The Mangatipona Stream also runs through the reserve so additional plants mean less farm run-off entering the waterway which will help improve water quality.” 

Johnny Tripe’s family own the farm that the reserve is part of and received funding for the plants from the Department of Conservation.

“However, we didn’t know how best to use the plants so got in touch with Neil at Horizons who provided advice on what plants should go where,” Mr Tripe says.

“We’ve tried planting these gaps ourselves before, rather unsuccessfully, so we’re hoping that with Neil’s expertise this time it will work. He also helped organise the community planting day which we’re extremely grateful for as otherwise it may have taken us months to plant everything.

“This site is really special to our family and locals in the area so having it restored to its former glory without gaps will hopefully ensure its survival for decades to come.”

Horizons chair Rachel Keedwell also attended the planting event and says it’s a great demonstration of how Horizons can work with stakeholders and the community.

“The grant came from the Department of Conservation, the technical advice from Horizons and the planting by the community – working together we have a win for biodiversity and water quality.”

Mr Gallagher says Horizons is able to offer advice on biodiversity sites throughout the region.

“Anyone wishing to discuss a project such as this is encouraged to get in touch with the biodiversity team on freephone 0508 800 800.”

A video from the day can be viewed here