Bringing back our forests and dunes

The Council is restoring what Wellington once had, bolstering what remains, and connecting and protecting these areas throughout our city from our coast to our hills.

From seeds to success

Restoring a forest or coastal area in Wellington starts with a seed. The right seed, that is.

The Council’s Berhampore Nursery eco-sources seeds for restoration planting and grows around 100,000 native plants with a range of up to 100 species every year.

It's important to plant what would have originally occurred in an ecosystem to keep our nature distinctively Wellington and resilient against weeds.

Where we restore

The Council focuses its restoration planting in areas of ecological significance. These forest or dune areas closely resemble Wellington’s original natural environment, form an important part of wider environmental networks, or are home to significant species.

Key restoration goals

The Council's restoration work aims to:

  • plant the right plants in the right place
  • fill the gaps in restoration areas to prevent weeds moving in
  • provide the right habitat to bring back the special species that lived there
  • protect these areas from invasion using planted buffer zones
  • connect these areas together like stepping stones
  • maintain and monitor these areas.

Connecting the forests in our city

The way Wellington is nestled into nature, with roads and buildings spread across our natural spaces, makes it difficult for native plants and wildlife to thrive. By planting in a series of linked-together green spaces, like stepping stones throughout the city, both our urban infrastructure and nature can thrive.

This pattern allows wildlife to migrate between areas to feed and breed, and allows species' populations to grow and thrive.

Sand dunes ready for storms

Ensuring the strength of our few remaining sand dunes is also very important. Healthy, resilient dunes protect the city in the event of large storms and climate change.

Our native sand-binders (spinifex and pīngao) produce lower and more stable dunes. Though vegetation won’t stop the erosion of our dunes, native sand-binding species are critical for their recovery after storms.

Dune restoration can also ensure healthy kelp and seaweed beds around the reefs to absorb energy from waves.

Beyond planting

Some of our key species have habitat needs that can’t be met in the short term by planting. Logs and leaf litter, for instance, are important for insects and lizards but are rare on forest floors. We make sure that when we build tracks in the city, we leave leaf litter and decomposing trees for them to enjoy.

We provide nest boxes for bird species such as little blue penguins. Nest boxes are installed in areas where predator numbers are actively managed.

It takes a village

We can't do it alone. The Council supports over 140 community groups in Wellington who help us plant back our forests and dunes.

What you can do for the environment