Dun Mountain Threats
Weeds, animal pests and human activity threaten the environment of the Nelson Mineral Belt
Weeds compete with native plants for space and nutrients. Introduced plants can change soil fertility and create shade, which, over time if new plants dominate, could irreversibly change the plant and animal communities of the area.
Wilding Conifers – mostly Douglas Fir – spread easily through this alpine environment. Nelson City Council and its partners including the Department of Conservation and Forest and Bird are working together to control this threat. Other weed threats to the mineral belt include gorse and Spanish heath.
Browsing animal pests such as deer, goats, pigs, hares and possums threaten the natural ecosystem of the Mineral Belt. Browsing animals eat the palatable plants, prevent regeneration and alter the leaf litter composition that the snails live in; the pigs eat the tasty earthworms that are essential snail food; while rats, pigs and possums eat the snails.
People are also weed spreaders, bringing in seeds on shoes, backpacks, bike tyres and clothing.