June 2023

Post Information

Author: David

Post Date: June 25, 2023


Quarterly Update

Summer was short but sweet

We really had to pull out all the stops to get as much done as possible in the very brief two month period when it wasn’t pouring with rain this “summer”. But thanks to the huge effort by our fantastic landowners we achieved a lot – far more than we thought would be possible.

So a massive THANK YOU to all our landowners and Ambassadors who helped us collect reassessment data on over 900 previously treated trees – as well as all the sites that were treated for the first time. We most definitely couldn’t have done this work without you.

Re-Treatment Strategy Under Development

As we have been following the health of a subset of our treated trees over the last 6 years since Kauri Rescue started we have started to see a small proportion of kauri with a reappearance of symptoms such as active bleeds.

Since the application of phosphite is not a cure, but a treatment, for kauri dieback disease it is clear that some trees now need a top up dose to keep the disease at bay.

We are using the data analysis to guide our decision making on a strategy for re-treatment and will be contacting all our landowners in the spring to offer them the opportunity to re-treat the trees that need more support.

Social science survey coming soon

Auckland University MSc student Debbie Larkins is working with Kauri Rescue as part of the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge Ngā Rākau Taketake: Saving Our Iconic Trees Programme funded Mobilising for Action theme.

Debbie presented a poster at the Kaurilands Summit explaining the objectives of her research and she will be launching a survey of all our landowners and Ambassadors very soon to find out more about your experience in working with our citizen science project. Everyone who has participated will be contacted direct via email. So look out for that arriving in your inbox and please make an effort to complete the survey to help us understand what works and what doesn’t for our target audience, so that we can be more effective in the future.

More Science news

University of Auckland Chemical Sciences Research Fellow Dr Gayan Heru De Zoysa has been investigating novel chemical treatment options for kauri dieback disease. His work has identified peptide based and small molecules isolated from the native shrub Horopito that are capable of targeting multiple stages of the life cycle of Phytophthora agathidicida (the pathogen that causes kauri dieback disease) in the lab.

This is exciting news and Heru’s work has just been published in the Journal of Plant Pathology. You can read his paper online here

Data Analysis under way

So what are we doing with all these data? The Biological Heritage National Science Challenge Ngā Rākau Taketake: Saving Our Iconic Trees Programme have funded us for the last 3 years to follow a set of kauri trees and their response to the phosphite treatment.

We are currently analysing these data and aim to report back to the Challenge on the results by the end of July. After that we plan to do a feedback session to landowners and Ambassadors. We will be in touch with the details of that meeting once we are ready to report and look forward to sharing the findings with you.

Kaurilands Summit Presentations online

The recent conference held in Whangarei by The Biological Heritage National Science Challenge Ngā Rākau Taketake: Saving Our Iconic Trees Programme was a huge success.

All the presentations have been made available online and we think you will be particularly interested in the one from our project leader Dr Ian Horner. Ian reported back on the health assessment of the trees he treated with phosphite in his original trial of the treatment 10 years ago (funded by the Kauri Dieback Programme / Auckland Council / Tiakina Kauri) – and the results are quite astonishing and really encouraging. Ian’s presentation was voted the second most interesting at the conference by the attendees. You can watch all the presentations here.

Thanks to our funders

The Kauri Rescue™ team want to extend a huge THANK YOU to our major funders who have continued to support our project.

The Biological Heritage National Science Challenge Ngā Rākau Taketake: Saving Our Iconic Trees Programme funding supporting our monitoring of previously treated trees for the past 3 years is just about to finish at the end of June. Their funding of our social science project is also coming to a close soon.

Auckland Council’s Natural Environment Targeted Rate and Regional Environment and Natural Heritage Grant funded 16 month contract with us also finishes at the end of June and we are hopeful that they will continue to support our work helping Auckland ratepayers for the next 12 months. Contract negotiations are just about to begin following the decisions made on the Mayor’s budget last week.

Tiakina Kauri continue to support us with a project to work outside the Auckland Region and we hope to have some exciting news to share with you on that project in the next field season.