When you are out on a native forest walk with Bush and Beach your guide will get you to clean and spray your shoes as you enter and leave the forest. We do this to help stop the spread of a disease which is affecting our iconic Kauri trees, this disease is known as Kauri dieback.
We have put this page together to provide some further information for those interested in finding out more about the disease and how to prevent it spreading.
What causes Kauri dieback?
Kauri dieback is caused by a microscopic pathogen (a type of water mould) that is spread by water and soil. The pathogen travels towards the Kauri tree roots and there they create a bacterial colony which infects the roots and will ultimately ‘starve’ the tree of nutrients and water by damaging the tissues in the trees trunk.
The full name of the pathogen is Phytophthora agathidicida.
Why it is important to clean footwear
The pathogen that causes the disease can be transported in a pinhead of soil and remain dormant for many years in the soil or above the ground. You cannot always tell if a tree or an area has the disease. We need to make sure we don’t bring any contaminated soil into an area or leave an area with any soil on our shoes that could spread the disease to another area.
The spray used is called Sterigene Green and is a non toxic, biodegradable disinfectant which is effective at killing bacteria and fungus.
Bush and Beach policies around Kauri dieback
Bush and Beach take containing the spread of Kauri Dieback very seriously and have a series of policies and guidelines our guides are trained to follow.
- We explain the issues to our clients and scrub and spray all clients’ shoes both entering and leaving the bush.
- We carry spare spray and brushes in all vehicles in case the stations are busy and / or empty.
- We report empty spray stations to the rangers.
- Vehicles are thoroughly washed and vacuumed every night.
- Tour groups without the necessary concessions (hence may not know the protocols) are reported.
- Our guides will also talk to members of the public at the spray stations to explain why shoe cleaning is so important.
Protocols for preventing the spread of the disease
Clean ALL soil off your footwear and other gear EVERY TIME you ENTER or LEAVE an area with kauri.
Use disinfectant only after you have removed all soil.
Stay on track and off kauri roots.
If you are interested in more information about the issues around Kauri dieback and the research being done there is an excellent website here.