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When exotic tree species grow in abundance in New Zealand, thrive in various climates, are affordable to buy, and grow quickly, it might not make much sense to purchase native trees. Such convenient and cost-effective alternatives exist, so surely you’d be better off planting trees like Maple, Oaks, and Lophostemon.
But that’s not entirely true. Our native tree species, like cabbage trees, Puriri, Kanuka and Manuka, are all valuable additions to our land and provide many incredible benefits. If you’re not yet convinced that planting native trees on your property is worthwhile, consider the following points.
Habitat and Food for Native Wildlife
Native trees provide food like nectar, fruit, foliage, and insects for our native birds, which are essential for our ecosystems. Native trees even encourage native wildlife to congregate in certain areas.
Karamu trees, Titoki, Tawa, and Rimu all provide fruit and seeds, while cabbage trees and Pohutukawa offer an abundance of nectar, fruit, and seeds.
If you’re trying to attract wildlife to your own property, there are many easy things you can do, such as grow native trees and shrubs, create a ‘wild’ area that’s not often disturbed, grow plants at varying heights, and group your plants together to create diverse habitats.
Soil erosion can be caused by many human activities, like agriculture, logging, mining, construction, and grazing. While these activities can be crucial for maintaining our lifestyles, they can come at a high cost.
According to the Ministry for the Environment in 1997, half of Aotearoa New Zealand was affected by moderate to slight erosion, and 10 percent had extreme erosion, including the eastern North Island, areas of Taranaki, and high country in the South Island.
Only around 31 percent of those places could sustain pastoral farming without implementing erosion controls. Native trees can be one of those controls.
Trees reduce erosion by protecting the soil from rain, binding soil with their roots, and consuming water to counteract soaked soil. Already, farmers are seeing improvements by planting trees on slip-prone hill country.
Soil stabilisation can also be achieved with protection forestry, which involves tree planting on land with minimal production value and keeping them away from stock.
A Sense of National Identity
Our beautiful native trees give us a sense of national identity. We’re connected to them, the plants, insects, and wildlife in our schools and neighbourhoods as part of a larger ecosystem.
This concept is particularly strong in Te Ao Māori, with trees forming part of our whakapapa. Our trees and plants are interconnected with other plants, the environment, and animals, and every single one has a role to play.
we lost a significant amount of our endemic biodiversity when humans settled in Aotearoa. By 1840, more than half of the bush had been cleared, and as of 2013, we were at less than one-third of what existed here pre-settlement.
Tree planting can be a crucial part of maintaining our national identity. It is part of what makes us uniquely New Zealand.
They Benefit Our Physical Health
Native trees benefit our environment, our culture, and ecosystems as a whole, but they also benefit our physical health.
According to studies, exposure to natural vegetation can protest against asthma in children. Trees also absorb air pollutants, resulting in fewer cases of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, fewer admissions to hospitals, and overall lower health costs.
Fortunately, tree planting in schools is greatly encouraged, and schools are now able to access grants and support to plant some of our most desirable trees.
You Can Transplant Them
We are blessed to have some of the world’s largest and most beautiful trees here in Aotearoa. However, when you don’t know how big your native tree will grow, it’s easy to plant them in the wrong place on your property accidentally.
Rather than cut them down, you might be able to transplant them. Pohutukawa trees, in particular, transplant well with forward planning. Cut around the root ball three months before winter, trench around the outside, water the tree, and let it sit for 2-3 months to allow fine roots to grow. You can then lift the tree out and move it to a new location that you prepared in advance with compost.
Plant Natives in NZ Today
There is a long list of benefits associated with planting native trees in Aotearoa New Zealand. If you’re ready to get your next planting project underway, talk to the team at Pro Climb. Our expert arborists can assist with all manner of native tree tasks and services in Auckland, including planting, transplanting, maintenance, inspections, contract services in schools, and more.
How do native trees benefit local wildlife?
Native trees provide essential food sources and habitats for native birds and wildlife, supporting biodiversity and creating a thriving ecosystem.
Can native trees help prevent soil erosion on my property?
Yes, native trees play a crucial role in soil stabilisation, protecting against erosion by anchoring soil with their roots and absorbing water, thus reducing the risk of erosion on your property.