Looking After Your Patch

Rance’s QEII Covenant area.Rance’s QEII Covenant area.Before planning your restoration project, it’s important that you put measures in place to protect what you’ve got. Nature is amazing and complex and difficult to reproduce. Often the best we can do is to protect what we’ve got, help to repair damage from stock, animal pests and weeds, and enhance with plantings. Find out more about looking after your patch.

Protecting what you’ve got

When starting a restoration project it’s vital that you first protect what you’ve already got. This usually involves protecting your fragment from:

  • Stock
  • Plant pests (weeds)
  • Animal pests.

The exclusion of stock needs to be a top priority. Unfenced remnants on farms can suffer a lot of damage from livestock. New Zealand’s plants evolved without any large grazing mammals. Cattle, goats and, to a lesser degree sheep, with free access to a fragment will heavily graze edible native seedlings and saplings, opening up the forest underneath.

Fencing forest remnants

Healthy, ungrazed forests have dense native undergrowth, a deep leaf litter layer, and a tapered forest edge. They filter out sediments and nutrients from rainwater and water running off from surrounding land, and reduce erosion during heavy rain. It’s important that stock be excluded from your remnant.

Remember to put in a gate so you can quickly remove any stock that might break through the fence. Years of plantings and re-growth can be destroyed in a short amount of time if you can’t get any rogue animals out quickly!

Find out more about fencing your patch.

Plant and animal pests

Plant and animal pests can have a huge impact on the success of your restoration project. Before planting, ensure you’ve got a plan in place to protect your patch from plant and animal pests.

Plant pests

Plant pests (or weeds) are plants that are:

  • Not growing where they should.
  • Having a negative impact on the local ecosystem.

New Zealand’s temperate climate means that there are now more introduced plant species growing wild here than there are native plant species. Introduced plant species continue to naturalise at an alarming rate.

Environmental weeds are plants that invade native bush, wetlands, streams and many other habitats with detrimental effects. Weeds can multiply quickly, replacing native plants and changing the habitat so it is no longer suitable for native animals. Weeds can form dense mats which smother seedlings and stop native plants from germinating. Vines can grow up and strangle or smother trees.

Learn more about weeds in Southland, how to identify them and how to get rid of them. Don’t let weeds get the better of your project.

Animal pests

Animal pests threaten our region’s native ecosystems, such as forests and wetlands, including the plants, birds, insects and other wildlife that live in them. Many of our native species cannot survive long-term without ongoing pest control. Animal pests cause damage by:

  • Eating or damaging plants – inhibiting their growth.
  • Eating seeds – preventing natural regeneration.
  • Eating or trampling seedlings - preventing natural regeneration.
  • Killing native birds and other fauna.

Before you undertake any planting at your place, make sure you have a plan in place to protect them. Learn more about animal pests in Southland, how to identify and how to best manage them.


With any restoration project ongoing weed and pest control will be required. It’s important that this be factored into the amount of time and money required to see your project through.

Areas that have been heavily infested with weeds will still contain their seeds in the soil. Some weeds have seeds that can remain viable (able to grow) for many years in the soil. You may need to do follow-up weed control in these areas for a few years after planting until your native species establish.

Protection by QEII National Trust

The Queen Elizabeth II Trust helps private landowners in New Zealand to protect significant natural and cultural features on their land through open space covenants in perpetuity.

QEII National Trust, an independent statutory organisation, was set up in 1977 to encourage and promote, for the benefit of New Zealand, the provision, protection, preservation and enhancement of open space.

The Trust’s core activity is to secure long-term protection of natural and cultural features on private land, usually by the legal mechanism of an open space covenant.

While the land remains in private ownership, QEII acts as a perpetual trustee to ensure the values remain protected forever.

The QEII model of protection has proven to be a robust, simple and cost-effective resource management tool.

QEII works closely with the Department of Conservation, regional and district councils, the Historic Places Trust, Landcare Research, the New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust and others committed to protecting and enhancing New Zealand’s diverse open space.

Find out more about protecting your patch with the QEII National Trust.