Mid Dome Wilding Trees
Mid Dome stands as a 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 grasslands.
Contorta pine was planted on Mid Dome between the 1950s and 1980s for erosion control. Strong prevailing nor’westerly winds make Mid Dome a perfect take-off point for the millions of seeds these wilding pines produce every year. Offspring from these very light, winged seeds have been found 40 kilometres downwind of Mid Dome and up to altitudes of 1400 metres. The shade beneath the canopy of dense wilding pines eliminate all other plants beneath them.
If not eradicated, it is predicted that wilding pines in the Mid Dome area will totally overwhelm 61,000 ha of high country tussock and pastoral grassland in the short term, and infest a further 100,000 hectares by 2053.