After having little success with applying bare seed by drone, they approached Ahikā.
Together, we developed a unique seed pod design and trial to assess the effectiveness of this new method with the help of the University of Otago and Watercare.
Together, we developed a unique seed pod (or ball) design and trial to assess the effectiveness of this new method with the help of the University of Otago and the Department of Conservation.
Envico designed the machines to manufacture the seedpods, which are are about the size and shape of an apricot stone and made from compost, clay powder and water with several native tree seeds in the mixture.
We ran initial trials to test germination potential under different growing conditions at the University of Otago’s growing facilities. Initial results showed good potential, and the project has proceeded to field trials.
51,000 seedpods containing local native seeds were applied by drone across the first field trial site — a cutover pine block in the Hunua Ranges managed by Watercare.
We established monitoring plots to measure and track progress of native vegetation for the next few years in the hopes our seedlings dominate vegetation cover.
This method will also be trialled in other locations under different conditions including gorse scrub in Dunedin and a burnt scrubland in Wānaka.
We look forward to seeing seed pods grow and shape the future of native reforestation in New Zealand!