Kauri set to be listed as threatened species

Weekend Variety Wireless 27/05/2018
Credit: File.

Next week our precious Kauri - the giants of the forest - will be listed as a threatened species.

Botanist Peter de Lange joins Graeme Hill to respond to a Stuff opinion piece about kauri dieback criticising “experts” and claiming everything’s going to be fine.

Dr de Lange says these assertions should not go unchallenged.

These are hysterical claims which are incorrect.

One of the glaring problems with kauri dieback is the lack of education around the issue.

Dr de Lange explains the comments are what should be expected given the lack of communication around the issue.

The statement is “wrong on all levels”, he added.

There is estimated to be 200,000 kauri in New Zealand. This disease is a killer.

If you inoculate kauri with this disease, there is a 100 percent death rate of the tree as shown through research. One in five kauri will die from the disease.

Forest and Bird say kauri could be extinct in our lifetime.

But Dr de Lange shuts down these claims. As a species, kauri is unlikely to die in next 100 years.

However the rate of decline is increasing.

“It’s not just a species we’re losing, but an entire eco system," Dr de Lange told RadioLIVE.

Evidence is alluding to the potential for the disease to be native to New Zealand.

Genetic estimates suggest it has been around for around 300 years but the disease is now spreading rapidly.

“We pride our nation on being innovative, but maybe we are losing our innovation in fear of losing funding," Dr de Lange said.

Listen to the full audio with Peter de Lange above.

Weekend Variety Wireless with Graeme Hill, 8pm - midnight Saturdays and Sundays, on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the Rova app on Android and iPhone.