Stop the bot: grapevines, fungus and fungicides

Grapevines Photo by Christine und Hagen Graf CC BY 2.0 When it comes to grapes, people think of fresh table grapes, grape juice, jam, jelly, raisins and, of course, wine! However, these fruit products on your table take more than just a grape to make. Behind the pictures of vines dripping…

The little things matter in restoration

“Nature does not compartmentalize. Its instinct is integrative and holistic.”– Ram Nath Kovind Lyra Chu is a postgraduate student in the Master of Science. She wrote this article as part of her assessment for ECOL 608 Research Methods in Ecology. *Dollery, R., Bowie, M., & Dickinson, N. (2018). Tree guards…

Fire and the dragon leaf

Smaug the Magnificent (and excerpt from John Howe). Dragons. Huge, fire-breathing, flying reptiles. Sometimes cunning, sometimes chatty, often noble and inscrutable, occasionally savage and despicable. Always covetous of gold and precious items. Dragons are probably the fantastical creature that has most permeated our modern world. Everyone knows about dragons. Every region has…

A new toolbox toxin that can take out an elephant

Whilst hiking in Arthur’s Pass, there is always one plant that never fails to catch my eye. I notice it, not because of its’ beauty or its phenomenal size, but because of the alarm bells that go off in my head when I see it. This plant is Coriaria arborea,…

Fire and Shire

It is a strange old time that we are living through, with much of the world in a pandemic lockdown. In times of stress I have a safe space that I return to that has worked throughout my life. A trip to Middle-Earth is a great comfort to me. I…

The green walls of China

Growing up on a farm meant that you were familiar with fire. There were always trimmings from shelter-belt hedges to drag into piles to make into bonfires. In autumn, there was barley stubble that was burned off to help get the paddocks ready for their next assignment. There were also…

The side effects of climate change you probably haven’t heard about

Climate change: the biggest environmental challenge of our time. It is impossible to escape the ongoing climate change debate. A quick google search of “climate change” when writing this blog generated 136 news articles from over the past 24 hours. It is clearly a very talked about issue and for…

Mānuka: defending grapevines from fungal attack

Leptospermum scoparium, known as tea tree or mānuka, is native to Australia and New Zealand. This iconic plant has been historically used across several industries, including honey production, meat seasoning, and in the pharmaceutical industry as an essential oil for medicinal use. However, there is another potential use related to…

A range of different ferns

The fern is emblematic of New Zealand, appearing on most of our national sports teams and as a default for our nonofficial flag. The fern seems like a good choice to represent the people and places on our shaky islands. Ferns are unassuming, green and not flashy, getting their ecosystems…

Fire on the mountain: habitat flammability changes over decades

“Close to, the fire on the mountain was very much more alarming than it had seemed from a distance. They could smell it now, and hear it; smell the smoke more bitter than a farm bonfire; hear the soft, dreadful sound of flames consuming the bracken, like paper crumpled in…