|Our Environment: Issue 26 Autumn 2001|
Contractors are still clearing trees destroyed by last Octobers devastating storm. Hardest hit were 15 hectares of pine plantations in the Bowenvale Valley and other parts of the Port Hills. However, the gale force winds also toppled scores of trees and tore down branches throughout the city, especially in the southern suburbs. The closer you got to the hills the worse the damage, according to City Council arboriculturist Walter Fielding-Cotterell.
He estimates that the bill for the cleanup and replanting is likely to top $1.3 million. Funding for the next financial year totals $160,000.
Pine trees are still being removed from the hill plantations. It is also important to minimise the effects of felling operations on the hillside soils as they are very prone to erosion. As well as being a fire hazard, the trees are very dangerous to extract. Once the plantation areas are cleared the area will be replanted in native species. Although replanting is necessary to stabilise the soil, the Council is finding it difficult to obtain sufficient locallysourced native trees.
Mr Fielding-Cotterell says an extensive programme to thin oaks in Hagley Park saved many of those trees. However several notable trees in the Botanic Gardens, McMillan Avenue and at Fendalton Mall had fallen or had to be removed because of storm damage. All the wood from trees destroyed in the gale has either been sold for firewood or timber, or chipped for compost.
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