Jenny Christianson

Joined: May 05, 2018 Last Active: Jul 09, 2020

I am observing the Kaipatiki Stream area and how its plant communities change in response to surrounding forest, untended wild areas, neighbourhood gardens, water flows both natural and channelled, building, recreation, planting and weed control.

I am particularly interested in

  • the increasing dessication and erosion through land use, stormwater piping and channelling, removal of weeds and unwanted vegetation without replacement of ground cover, and the current (January 2019-April 2020) drought.
  • the value of existing native trees and the habitat they currently support, and the cost of maintaining and multiplying them through skilled selective weeding, compared with the cost and results of planting native trees.
  • the unique nature of wild plant communities that cannot be recreated by planting,
  • learning how to preserve, restore and extend this quality into neighbouring land, primarily forest margins either without an active conservation and restoration plan, or with insufficient budget to control weeds without loss of biodiversity.

In my experience to date, controlling weeds without loss of biodiversity requires regular, frequent ongoing monitoring, identification of both natives and weeds at an early stage, and intervention at the optimum time for control without loss of habitat. (I am continually asking "what will happen here if I remove or reduce this weed now?")

Through thousands of brief and minimal interventions during walks in my neighbourhood over the last thirty years I have learned, often to my surprise, how easily wild diverse native vegetation can be given the "upper hand" and weeds eventually eradicated, without poisons or loss of habitat, through brief interventions based on knowledge of the likely responses of the native and weed species present.

Through I am learning to identify more plants, including many often destroyed either accidentally or in the belief they are a threat. I am trialling conservation and restoration strategies and discovering new ones, and documenting the results as well as I can.

There is an obvious difference in our local environment between the "dead areas" of long-term chemical use, with loss of plant cover, invertebrate habitat and soil life, and the areas which are weedy but full of life. Weedy areas, whether on public or private land, have an irresistible potential for transformation, as part of our marvellous local network of forest, stream and wetland remnants, transition to healthy, diverse, locally-native vegetation and everything it provides a home for.

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