Myrtle rust causes seed-banking panic

Hundreds of officials across the country are scrambling to gather seeds of more than 30 native plant species now threatened by deadly fungal disease Myrtle Rust.

Auckland Council and other regional authorities have been directed to go out and collect seed of important native myrtle trees, in a nationwide emergency seed-banking effort being led by the Department of Conservation (DoC).

The rust, which poses a major threat to cherished native myrtle species like pohutukawa, manuka and rata, as well as well as feijoa and bottle brush, has been confirmed to have spread from the Kerikeri nursery where it was first found last week.

Officials say it may now be impossible to contain the wind-blown scourge.

The impact it will have on some of the country’s most important plant species, and the $300 million manuka honey industry, remains unclear.

It’s probably too late.  The spores of a rust like that can not be prevented from going wherever they like.  It probably came here on the winds from Australia.

As for seed banking, that should have been a long term project.  Not a last second panic.

 

– NZ Herald


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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