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‘Potential disaster’ in pine fungus

A fungus disease that infects pine trees had potentially disastrous commercial and environmental consequences for the Waikato and the country, this week’s Environment Waikato Biosecurity Committee meeting heard. 

Pine pitch canker, which leads to resin producing lesions on trees, can kill trees and is easily spread by wind, rain and insects through wounds on the tree. It also persists in soil and could infect roots and could survive for more than a year in logs.

Biosecurity Technical Liaison Officer David Stephens said the disease had potentially serious implications for New Zealand commercial forests and the economy. The industry had recognised there was a strong need for a robust operational response plan for New Zealand.

A MAF-initiated stakeholder consultative group including industry and council members met in December to assist this process. Research was being done, and the possible economic consequences of low, medium, or high impact events have also being modelled, he said.

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