Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has today announced that the 40 ha Albany Scenic Reserve will be closed until further notice following the discovery of phytopthera taxon agathis (PTA) spores in the reserve. PTA is the pathogen that causes kauri dieback disease, and has already cause kauri tree deaths in parts of the Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland, in Waipoua, and on Great Barrier Island.
“Closing the reserve was not a decision I took lightly, but as we go into winter the threat posed to our majestic kauri by dieback requires decisive action,” Ms Barry said in a statement.
“The risk of someone unwittingly spreading the disease from Albany to healthy trees is simply too great to be ignored.”
Her decision raises the prospect of other parts of the DOC estate being closed, which the Minister says is a possibility. This includes most of the remnant kaur forest areas in Northland and the Coromandel.