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Saving our forests

2011 was the International Year of Forests. Find out what people are doing to create a sustainable future.

Trees are very important for our planet. Find out about the importance of our forests. Learn about what threatens them, and what is being done to save them.

  • Choose from these activities:

Pests and predators interactive

Pests and predators

  • Interactive - Drag and drop these pests into the bush and find out what damage they cause.

Tane Mahuta - Lord of the forest

Tane Mahuta and Te Matua Ngahere

  • Next find out what 'girth' or 'circumference' means.
    Get a ball of string and cut off a piece the same measurement as the girth/circumference. Join it up in a circle and see how big Tane Mahuta's trunk is. You could see how many people can you fit into the circle?
  • Get a ball of string and cut off a piece the same measurement as the height. Lay it out on a field or around your school buildings and see how high Tane Mahuta's is. You could see how many people can you can fit lying top to tail on the string.
  • Find out how high the tallest building is that you have been in. Compare this with the height of Tane Mahuta.

Whirinaki forest

OurWorld: Best kept secret - Whirinaki Forest

Watch this video of naturalist David Bellamy visiting New Zealand’s “dinosaur forest” — Whirinaki, “a living cathedral that dates back 200 million years”. Watch as he explores the North Island forest’s “big five”: 60m+ rimu, mataī, kahikatea, miro and tōtara trees; and the ecosystem that they reign over, from kākā parrots to giant tree ferns.

Forests and our planet

Threats to our planet

  • Read about the threats to podocarp/hardwood forests in New Zealand
  • Next, use this action plan template to help you plan some things that you and your community could do to reduce one or more of those threats.

Plant trees for the planet

Did you know that kids all around the world are planting trees for the planet as part of the United Nation's Billion Tree Campaign. New Zealand has a target of 1,000,000 trees.

See how many have been planted so far by Kiwis - can you help?

Thinking about the future

What can you do to help make sure our forests are looked after into the future?

  • Find out why our forests are so important.
  • Find out what threats there are to our forests.
  • Make a list of the threats that are listed on the page and any others you can find in your research.
  • Choose one threat/issue to explore.
  • Use this Futures Thinking Tool on the Biotechnology Hub to help you find solutions for threat/issue relating to forestry. 

Pests on Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island, off the northern coast of Wellington is a bird sanctuary. Read this article and find out which of our native birds are at risk from the stoats found on Kapiti Island:

  • Then create a timeline from 1980 to now and mark in the important events in the attempt to eradicate pests on Kapiti and the costs involved.
  • You can create your own or use this interactive timeline.