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Ed Sheeran

Pest fodder crippling carbon capture

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Forest & Bird is warning New Zealand’s efforts to store carbon in the ngahere are being undermined by the way introduced pests are chewing through forests, shrub lands and tussock lands.

Chief executive Kevin Hague says a new report, Protecting our Natural Ecosystems' Carbon, for the first time quantifies the effects pests like possums, deer, wallabies, goats, pigs, chamois, and tahr have on the environment.

Damaged forests are able to absorb less carbon, and in the worst case scenario the forest will collapse, releasing its carbon.

People like ecologist Tame Malcolm have been working on how mātauranga Māori can be applied to control of the pests which threaten native birds, but the ones eating the trees and shrubs also need to be dealt to.

"It's going to be a really important conversation to be having I guess within te ao Māori but also between other conservationists and iwi and hapū," Mr Hague says.

If forests can be brought back to full health through animal control, it would account for 15 percent of net emissions or 60 percent of the emissions generated by transport.

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