Auckland is pleased to be a founding member of Cities4Forests and is committed to advancing our shared objectives. Cities4Forests is supporting cities to work towards common goals at a time when the important role of forests in addressing urban and global challenges is increasingly clear. We are looking forward to working with Cities4Forests as we implement the strategy and identify further opportunities to enhance our urban and rural forests.
“Auckland’s urban forest helps clean the air and stormwater, cools and beautifies urban spaces, and brings nature to Aucklanders’ doorsteps. Auckland and Cities4Forests are united in a common goal: recognising the wide range of measurable benefits forests provide in making our lives healthier, happier and more gratifying.”
Chief Sustainability Officer, Auckland Council, New Zealand
Auckland’s urban and rural forests provide a range of services required for Auckland to function and thrive. These include enhanced stormwater management, air pollution removal, improved water quality, cooling to reduce the urban heat island effect, and ecological corridors to connect habitats and improve biodiversity. Auckland’s forests are also essential for promoting health and well-being and an important element of our cultural heritage. Auckland’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy, launched in 2019, recognises the social, environmental, economic and cultural benefits provided by our urban forest and sets out a strategic approach to knowing, growing and protecting it. Read an overview article about Auckland’s plan for its urban forests, or see the full strategy.
The Auckland urban area was once covered in lush, tall forest. The legacy of this majestic world remains in only a few locations around the city. One of the best examples of the remaining kahikatea forest is Smiths Bush, a green urban oasis of soaring trees and raucous tūī. Nestled within the kahikatea is a magnificent stand of pūriri.
The network of reserves in the southern suburbs of Chatswood-Birkenhead areas contains the best example of kauri-podocarp forest in urban Auckland. Much of this forest is young (less than 150 years old), but it includes pockets of kauri and hard beech forest that are more than 400 years old. This mature forest represents the pre-human vegetation of the urban North Shore of Auckland.
The giant relics of Auckland
Kauri trees were considered by Māori to be the kings of New Zealand’s forest. These giants can reach over 50 meters and are also one of the longest-living tree species in the world lasting for more than 1,000 years. Māori used their trunks to build canoes and their gum to make torches, insecticides and also ink for facial tattoos. Kauri timber were prized too by the early European settlers, who use it for ship-building and other products for construction and living. With industrial logging, tracts of native forest soon dwindled. Today, the remaining patches are protected and, in some places, the forest is being restored. In Auckland, for example, the Chatswood-Birkenhead sub-urban area contains a kauri forest with much of its trees of less than 150 years old, but also with some of more than 400 years old. Now a new threat lurks: the die-back disease, caused by the Phytophthora agathidicida pathogen, can be spread by just a pinhead of soil and is incurable. If you visit them, clean all soil off, spray your footwear and gear and stay on the designated open tracks. We must help protect and conserve what remains of the ancient kauri forest.
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