A key driver for the Trust is attempting to increase the less than 1% of indigenous vegetation remaining on the Canterbury Plains. The ‘green dot’ project is an attempt to identify and establish a corridor of plantings and build community awareness of plains biodiversity. ‘Greendots’ refer to a managed planting on either public or private land supported by Te Ara Kākāriki and done in conjunction with landowners and other organisations.
Greendots are funded and supported by a number of organisations and involves planting by staff from these organisations in conjunction with landowners and Te Ara Kākāriki volunteers.
The Greendot philosophy is based on research by Meurk and Hall (2006) that examined the possibilities of integrating forest ecosystems into exotic dominated urban and rural landscapes. It concluded that using a greenspace planning option of patches and linear linked native plantings (at approximately 5 km spacings) could improve biodiversity and would not be incompatible with landuse and economic constraints in these managed landscapes. Further research by Lincoln University masters student Catriona Blum identified an optimum corridor within the Selwyn District in close proximity to the Waikirikiri/Selwyn River.
Therefore, sites are selected considering the following criteria:
- Proximity to the Waikirikiri/Selwyn River and to other sites (approximately 5kms)*
- Ability to contain a 25m x 25m planting plot (initially-& with potential for larger area)**
- Proactive and willing landowner (including signing MoU for site maintenance and protection)
- Ability and/or willingness to provide enduring protection of the plantings (via management agreement)
- Ability and/or willingness to use geographically/eco-sourced plants (Rangitata-Port Hills-Hurunui) and sequester carbon/establish biomass
Greendot mapping to date:
The Selwyn Waihora Active Restoration Forum that we are a part of has brought together this map of restoration sites. Each point is contributed by a variety of organization, of which we have contributed to 46 sites to date.
On this map: Greendots are dryland ecoysystems, blue dots are water based ecoysystems, yellow dots are costal ecosystems, and purple are unknown (Greer 2017). The size of the dots is not representative of the actual size of the restoration site. The real area covered is much smaller.
Preparing and maintaining your site:
Plants are planted, measured and monitored by volunteers and TAK, with landowners preparing and maintaining sites. A minimum area is required to start with, but can be expanded over time as more resources are available or as the landowner is able. A future exercise may be then to establish intermediate green dots at 2.5 km spacings with a view to more closely linking and joining the dots.
For maximum survival of plants, all sites need preparation, through spraying in Autumn and then again two weeks before planting. This is critical in keeping soils moist for plantings to survive. See the picture to the left, the soil on the left side had not been sprayed, while the soil on the right hand side of the picture had been sprayed. The sprayed soil held more moisture and had earthworms within it. Water may also been needed for the first two summers to keep survival rates high. These requirements are carried out by the landowner. The project also uses growth fertiliser tablets and combi-guards to protect the plant from predators and increase plant survival.
If you are interested in having a green dot on your farm, lifestyle block, school or workplace, contact us. You can also register existing native vegetation on your property as a green dot site.
* with potential to saturate all intervening land with seed from the bird dispersed trees and shrubs, as fruit eating birds are known to disperse seed at least 2.5 km (Meurk & Hall 2006) & and according to optimum soils/pathway (Blum 2007)
** the minimum size required and optimum shape to encourage bird habitat and dispersal (Meurk & Hall 2006)