Joint Project with the Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group

The Wakatipu Beech Seeding Project is a 3 year, joint research project between the Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group and the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust, with technical support from Scion Research Institute and Otago University.

This is a community-based research project to test the viability and efficiency of sowing native seed (in particular Beech) into stands of sprayed wilding conifers. At present some areas of sprayed conifers have limited native seed sources nearby and so it is mostly weed species that are subsequently colonising these areas. We will be testing the best way to sow seed directly into these areas and if successful, this could change the way we do landscape scale restoration in areas of sprayed conifers.

The project started in Autumn 2017 and we’ve learned some very valuable lessons along the way. Two critical factors when undertaking landscape scale restoration in areas of sprayed conifers are 1) having plenty of viable seed; and 2) timing. If we don’t colonise the areas with natives fast enough, then the weeds will quickly in and reduce the chances success. However, native tree species don’t tend to produce large quantities of viable seed every year, and so there isn’t always fresh seed available when the timing is optimal for sowing.

This autumn (2019) is a beech mast year, where plenty of viable seed will be available, and so we’re looking for interested volunteers to help gather as much seed as possible to continue our research.


This seed will then be sown by volunteers over large areas beneath recently sprayed conifers in an attempt to colonise these areas with natives before the weeds move in.


The project has WRT and WCG representatives on its project governance group including, Jonathon White, Neill Simpson, Ben Teele and Peter Blanshard. However, this is a community-based, volunteer-led project.


If you are interested in being involved, please contact Hilary Lennox at

Wakatipu Beech Seeding Research Project
Red Beech Seed
Mountain Beech Seed