One of our contracted thinning crews — FNR Forestry 2019 Ltd — had an interesting find recently: a baby kiwi, happily asleep in its burrow in Takakuri Forest, which is in our Northland estate.
North Island brown kiwi chicks are independent from 2-10 weeks; this baby was estimated to be just over 2 weeks old and about the size of a hedgehog. The quick-thinking thinning crew moved to a different area and continued to work and let the baby continue to sleep.
Plantation forests provide vital habitat to many native and endemic species and, with careful management, our forest can contribute to their survival. Kiwi in particular love plantation forests as the damp forest floor is rich in invertebrates. There are often pockets of indigenous vegetation nearby.
Summit Forests manages 66,000 hectares of plantation forest in New Zealand, 21% of which is in indigenous cover. Operations are managed to protect indigenous vegetation, wetlands, and riparian margins as much as possible. Staff and contractors are trained in threatened species identification and management. Summit also undertakes pest and weed control operations and ecological restoration projects in several forests.
In May, Summit celebrated the release of the 100th kiwi back into Whangapoua Forest in the Coromandel Peninsula. Sadly, this was followed by news that annual kiwi call counts plummeted in another project area near Kerikeri, where roaming dogs are an issue. So this little chick has a few challenges ahead, but for now, it can safely rest in a plantation forest.