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28 November 2000
New Zealand's native trees do not appeal to gypsy moth, according to the results of research commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to assess the risk posed by the exotic pest to New Zealand's forests.
Gypsy moths are native to Eurasia and severely damaged the oak forests of North America after its establishment there in the mid-1800s.
The research was undertaken to assess the risk of gypsy moth to key species of New Zealand's native forest. Nod Kay of Forest Research conducted the research. It was carried out at a quarantine facility in France using New Zealand tree species obtained from the plant collections of European institutions.
The results of the research show that native trees, such as totara and various species of beech, are comparatively resistant to the moth and that the risk of the moth's establishment in these forests is low. However, introduced Northern Hemisphere trees such as oak, are at risk.
Gypsy moth is a high profile pest internationally and as such MAF maintains an early warning trapping programme for this pest. It has been intercepted on imported goods such as used vehicles entering New Zealand.
For more information, contact:
Mr Nod Kay, Forest Research, Rotorua. Telephone: 07-343-5500
Dr Ruth Frampton, MAF Director, Forest Biosecurity. Telephone: 04-498-9639