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New Zealand’s most famous tree and the largest conifer in the world, the Kauri tree, can grow to heights of 50 metres or more and live for thousands of years.
In a depressing familiar story, humans have been and still are threatening the existence of this iconic species. Originally, the problem was logging and clearance, first by the Maoris and then, on an industrial scale, by European immigrants.
Today, the remaining Kauri tree is protected, but we are still causing problems. In this case, it is by spreading disease. Kauri Dieback Disease kills almost all the trees it infests – there is no cure. It’s being spread by the careless movements of people. It’s a fungal disease and carried on people’s footwear as they move from one place to another.
To save the Kauri tree, the disease must be controlled, and this means stopping the spread.
Ask the environment minister to immediately commence a large-scale public information campaign and consider introducing fines for those failing to wash their boots before entering uninfested Kauri habitat.
We the undersigned ask that you step up efforts to save the Kauri tree (Agathis australis) from Kauri Dieback Disease, which seems to be being spread by people. A large-scale public information campaign about the importance of people cleaning footwear before and after entering Kauri habitat is crucial, and it may be necessary to introduce some sort of fine for those failing to do so, along with extra staff.
This species must be saved. Aside from its own intrinsic importance, the Kauri tree is one of New Zealand’s most famous species and a major tourist attraction. It doesn’t bode well for the country’s other wildlife if the largest tree can’t be protected from a relatively preventable threat.
Please take immediate action on this vital conservation issue.
Thank you for your attention.