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History of Bell’s track working group

Most of the eradication of pests is done by DOC one volunteer does use a Tim’s trap for possums.

We have now planted the 5 podocarps indigenous to this area:
Totara. Miro, Kahikatea,Rimu and Matai

We first started with volunteers working on working bee days but found it was better for people to adopt a spot and do it in their own time. This has proved successful.

June 2012 Update  ………….  Bells Trackhttp://www.travelnewzealand.co.nz/northernexplorertrainservice.html

Kia ora koutou………………and a Happy Matariki

 

The trees are going into the ground with some good help from a few extra volunteers and more adopting a spot.  We have planted over 100 and hope more will go in on the next planting days.  The next was going to be Saturday 23rd but with the forecast for more rain it will now be Saturday June 30th together with July 1st our normal monthly working bee.  We have a group willing to help out so the start time on both days will be 10.30am.    The planting day after those two will be Saturday July21st at the same time.

A welcome to Marg,Gabor and Clara also Barry Howard and Alison who have adopted a spot above the first seat.   Also Victor from Madrid who helped with some planting out and is doing a study related to the replanting of native vegetation.    Thanks too to Simon and Crystal for storing our trees and for trimming grass at the bottom of the track.   Alva and Zar have moved uphill from the spot they have cleared

So we are sure on the move.

The flora this time is Kahikatea and the fauna snails.

We are trying to establish a grove of kahikatea in the valley from the bridge up and you can see one just near the bridge on the left and side as you cross over.   Kirsten planted some last year and we have another five to plant this year.   Eventually the valley will be a magnificent spectacle when they are fruiting and the birds flock to them.

Hei  konei ra

Des.     

Kahikatea (Dacrycarpus docrydiodes)

NZ’s tallest tree which can reach a height of more than 60 metres and lives for more than five centuries.

This is one of the five podocarps indigenous to this area.  The others totara, rimu, matai and miro. (Podocarp comes from Greek –‘fruit with a  foot’)   these are conifers that have evolved differently.   Generally conifers have a cone and are wind fertilised and wind dispersed.  Not so with podocarps.  They are wind fertilised but instead of a cone they have a fleshy seed which is dispersed by birds.   NZ has 20 conifer species and of these 17 are podocarps.  Before humans arrived they spread across most fertile lowlands from North Cape to Bluff.  Long lived kahikatea support whole ecosystems on their trunks and branches.   In a recent study in south Westland scientists counted 28 different seed plants and ferns together with many lichens, mosses and liverworts smothering one kahikatea.    As soon as the dairy industry found that odourless, resin free, soft kahikatea made ideal butter and cheese boxes the trees were cut down in their thousands.   Most had disappeared by the 1930’s.   The sometimes brownish foliage of the seedlings has a a fernlike appearance.   The leaves are small and attractively curved, the adult leaves are narrowly pointed with hair like projections at the tips and grey-green in colour.   Kahikatea trees are either male or female.   The fruits were an important food item for the Maori and they used a decoction of the leaves for internal complaints.

                     

 

Snails

While we were planting up the track we discovered a species of native snail.   There were quite a few of them but determining the species of this particular one involves a lot of research so I aim to follow through at a late date.

NZ is home to a bewildering array of land snails ranging from very large hamburger size giants to those that can fit through the eye of a needle.   There are more than 1000 species in our temperate climate which is most unusual.  The UK for example has only 112 species.

The common garden snail is the petit gris, an import which is also edible.   It is a pest in the home garden but will not survive in the native bush