Please help us buy and restore this endangered Otatara habitat

Sandy news

We were recently contacted by members of Otatara Landcare Group about an 80-hectare property in Otatara, just west of Invercargill. It borders the Oreti river and has been identified as one of the most important natural areas in Southland that is not already protected.

The proposed Otatara Reserve, just west of Invercargill

The area has largely been cleared of native forest, and the property itself has been farmed for many years. However, there are fragmented remnants of nationally important ecosystems still in place, and the property presents a fantastic opportunity for restoration.

With the right management, we can restore this precious part of Otatara to its former glory and protect it forever.

The most valuable part of the property, from a conservation perspective, is an area of totara forest on sand dunes, which is a naturally rare ecosystem that is classified as nationally endangered. The property also contains localised areas of matai-pokaka-kahikatea forest.

Photo by Jason Hosking

Patches of this kind of ecosystem in the Otatara area are considered the best example of the sand dune totara and totara-matai sequence in New Zealand. This property has been identified as probably the largest remaining unprotected site of its type in Otatara, and possibly even across the whole country.

It’s an area of considerable ecological importance, and is of national significance. It has remnant native forest, and the potential to regenerate naturally with careful management. It’s exactly the type of area that the Native Forest Restoration Trust was founded to protect and the opportunity to save it is one that we just can’t let pass by.

The timeline for the sale is incredibly short and we have to raise the funds by Monday 20th April in order to save this important habitat forever. That gives us just seven weeks to raise $1.5 million!

To reach our goal, we’re pulling out all the stops, and we will do everything we can to raise the necessary funds in time. With such a huge target and such limited time, we know that unfortunately we also have to have a contingency plan. Every dollar we raise will go directly to purchasing part of this important habitat and the more we can raise the more we can save, but if we have a shortfall we may not be able to save it all.

Please help protect this important piece of New Zealand’s natural heritage by making a donation today.

$282 could protect 150 square metres of this precious ecosystem and surrounding area, allowing it to recover and regenerate naturally.

$940 could protect 500 square metres, preserving some of the best example we have of a nationally endangered ecosystem.

As well as having significant ecological value, the property, once it is protected as a reserve, will also be accessible to the public to enjoy, and to local schoolchildren to visit and study on field trips. One local school has already been contacted and they are excited about the prospect of being able to teach and inspire their students in such an important part of our natural environment.

Thank you so much for everything you do to help protect our native forests.