The Quiet Forest: the case against aerial 1080

THE QUIET FOREST                SYNOPSIS       

A pest-control campaign of unprecedented proportions is underway right now in New
Zealand. Cereal pellets laced with 1080, a deadly broad-spectrum metabolic
poison, are being dropped by helicopter onto some of the most pristine and
beautiful places on earth. The 1080 programme has been ramped up over the past
decade and hundreds of tonnes are now being deposited onto more than 800,000 hectares
of native forest estate, repeatedly, with the stated aim of wiping out pests
such as rats and stoats and “bringing back the birds”. Tragically, this is all
based on flawed science. Predators cannot be eliminated from mainland NZ using
this strategy because they rapidly recolonize poisoned areas from edge zones. Rat
numbers bounce back within a year, wreaking further havoc on bird populations. Meanwhile,
rare and endangered birds and insects suffer. One example is the kea, the only
alpine parrot in the world, and known to be highly susceptible to 1080
poisoning. Despite being seriously endangered, poison drops continue directly
into their habitat. The book’s prologue describes the special experience of hand-rearing
a wild NZ native bird, which shaped the author’s emotional response to the 1080
issue. The next chapter describes how a group of Fiordland hunters found deer
carcasses and dead native birds on the ground three months after a 1080 drop.
The author then analyses the science underpinning the use of 1080, examining
its potential to harm native birds, insects and indeed human beings. Interviews
are included to allow other New Zealanders to voice their concerns. People from
all walks of life have been interviewed including a West Coast greenie, an
organic gardener, a Maori elder, an artist, a dairy farmer and a bird-loving helicopter
pilot. These voices warn of the intergenerational consequences of widespread
chemical use on the land.