Environment Awards winners announced
A 15-year research project to find an alternative to chemically treated vineyard posts has been named the Supreme winner of the 2015 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards.
The NZ Dryland Forests Initiative has planted 120,000 eucalpytus trees in 38 trials throughout New Zealand in its quest to breed the best trees to establish a durable hardwood industry. Durable hardwoods can be used in the ground for decades without chemical treatment, which makes them ideal for vineyard posts, building and decking.
The judges said the results of the NZDFI research would solve a range of gnarly environmental issues:
- An alternative to chemically treated grape posts
- No more stock piles of hard-to-dispose-of treated posts
- A productive use of drought-prone land and erosion control on slopes
- The trees will be harvested by coppicing to grow back again
- It will be a new source for durable hardwoods rather than clear-felling tropical rainforests
Project leader Paul Millen estimates that mature durable hardwoods will be three times as profitable as pinus radiata for New Zealand forest owners and are well suited to drought conditions.
The Environment Awards are supported by the Cawthron Institute, the Marlborough District Council, Department of Conservation and local sponsors.
Cawthron Institute Chief Executive, Professor Charles Eason, congratulated NZDFI and says the science organisation is proud to be supporting the awards.
"A substantial focus of our research projects is on protecting the environment and walking the delicate balance between enabling primary sector growth while at the same time improving environmental quality," Professor Eason says.
"Many of the entrants in this year's awards have managed to do just that and we applaud them for their achievements and commitment. Regardless of whether they were a winner on the night, all of the finalists have made a positive difference to our environment and that is the most important thing."
Other Awards winners announced at the presentation dinner at the Marlborough Convention Centre in Blenheim on Friday March 13 were:
- Forestry: Manuka Island Trust – production pine forestry balanced with biodiversity and landscape
- Farming: Mike and Kristen Gerard, Hopai and Elie Bay - sheep and beef farm, commercial forestry and native bush protection
- Landscape and Habitat Enhancement: Kaipupu Point Mainland Island Society – Predator-free wildlife sanctuary with a strong educational emphasis
- Wine Industry Innovation: Pernod Ricard Winemakers and Heritage Centre – integrated environmental management in vineyard, winery and visitor centre
- Community Innovation: Marlborough Farmers Market – promoting fresh local produce and crop diversity
All winning properties will host public field days in April and May.
Bev Doole, Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards co-ordinator
Phone 03 570 5233 or 021 069 7836