Mid Dome stands sentinel above the crossroads that mark halfway between Invercargill, Queenstown and Fiordland National Park. In its shadow lie some of Southland and Otago's most valuable and vulnerable high country tussock and pastoral lands.

The Threat

Lodgepole pines (Pinus contorta) were planted on 250 ha of Mid Dome between the 1950s and 1980s for erosion control. Strong prevailing nor-westerly winds make Mid Dome a perfect takeoff point for the up to 1.5 million seeds these wildings produce per hectare every year. Offspring from these very light, winged seeds have been found 40km downwind of Mid Dome and up to altitudes of 1400m. The shade wilding pines produce eliminate most other plants beneath them. As a result, 475 ha of Mid Dome is now totally covered by wildings and another 13,000 ha downwind are seriously infested. Mid Dome's wildings, stunted and difficult to access, have no commercial value as timber or firewood and hold little more global-warming carbon than the snow tussock they displace.

These unplanned and unmanaged wilding forests grow much faster than our native species. They threaten to totally change our southern landscapes forever. The future of native animals and plants living in these landscapes looks bleak. Productive farmland and recreational opportunities - like mountain biking, horse riding, tramping and 4WD - would also disappear beneath the wildings’ impenetrable monoculture.

Costs of control increase exponentially and our chances of success drastically diminish each year. These wildings have the potential to be southern New Zealand's most serious ecological disaster.

The Challenge

If not eradicated, it is predicted Mid Dome wildings will totally overwhelm 61,000 ha of high country tussock and pastoral land and infest a further 100,000 ha by 2053.

If we lose this wildings battle, this land has no long-term ecological, economic or recreational future.

Our Mission and The Job Ahead

Our Mission

The primary goal of the Mid Dome Wilding Trees Charitable Trust is to eradicate wilding pines from Mid Dome and surrounding land to the point where any re-growth can be managed by landholders.

This will protect the ecological, economic, landscape and recreational values of over 100,000 ha of iconic southern high country pastoral and tussock land.

    The Job Ahead

    To achieve this, the Trust has formulated a 12-year Ecological Restoration Project. The only viable way to tackle the most dense 475 ha (2,500 to 5,000 trees per hectare) is by aerial spraying and chainsaws.

    For more scattered infestations, ground control techniques including chainsaws, scrub bars, chemicals and hand pulling are being used to remove the wildings and allow natives to regenerate.