Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pine forest removal, Sunshine Bay - Post #4

This is the fourth instalment on the Sunshine Bay Pine Forest removal, 2004 - 2006. My subsequent instalments on this Pine Forest saga are going to review earlier hazards that these hillsides have been subjected to and that have contributed to the changing shape and cover of the land - clearing, fire & grazing. The Pine Forest was finally cleared during December 2006. Photos show: - loggers working to tie back trunks prior to cutting
- the 'pathway' of a get-a-way log
- the get-a-way log
- the completed result, including the long-term- tie back with wire ropes of many of the fallen trunks (too difficult to remove with a helicopter).

The clean up included the cutting into firewood lengths, one large log that had slipped downhill out of control, just missing the new house being built below.

The logging team were working on a wet Sunday to complete the job, tying back all trunks with large ropes in an endeavour to prevent the log possibly careering sown hill. Despite their efforts one did get a way with the 50 mm rope unravelling itself from its tie-up point. It slid just past the house under construction at the top of Mahina Road.

The photo below, taken in January 2007, shows the hillside after the last of the trees was felled. Clearing up the boundary track still has to be undertaken. One can see the wire ropes placed to secure the trunks from slipping down hill. (All images can be seen in a slightly enlarged format by clicking on them.)

Further photos indicate how well the native tree undergrowth is already coming away strongly in the wetter, more southerly facing slopes and gullies. The photo immediately below is in the area of the top of the gully north of Slip 3" (HCC consultants - Samcon Report dated Oct 2006). The 2nd photo is immediately above 'Slip 3'.There are many hundreds of Rangiora (flowering in the photo below), Whiteywood and a variety of coprosma among many other species. The 2nd photo also shows some of the seedlings planted by an HCC work team who did an excellent job, digging deep holes such that many of the seedling. survived the dry summer of 2007. In the last couple of months further replanting has taken place. There has also been a further slip that unfortunately took out several seedlings and now also threatens the path across the top of the slips. That pathway was originally put in along with the pine seedlings in the 1930's. It was taken out in many places during the slips over the last 4 years with the author undertaking re-alignment work in an effort to keep the access open - valuable in the case of fire apart from recreational, restoration and maintenance work.

On the drier, westerly and northerly slopes one can expect a lot more gorse re-growth. However, where an uprooted pine tree provides some shelter native cover is likely to sprout and flourish. natural growth has also been supplemented with specific plantings. There is, unfortunately, also a lot of Boneseed. An earlier HCC report did suggest that they would be removing the Boneseed weed during their Maintenance programmes. Although they have done well removing pine seedlings it appears as though they have decided to fore-go the removal of Boneseed.
It was from this area that the small 'lahar' arose (mentioned in a much earlier post).

The next post will discuss the 'burning' of a large patch of Beech forest over the ridge to the south, in Days Bay.


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