The Ben Lomond Adopt-a-Plot programme is a community-based adoption project designed as a response to a critical ecological issue that is threatening Ben Lomond and the One Mile Basin behind Queenstown.

The programme is administered by the Whakatipu Wilding Control Group (WCG) with funding and support from the Department of Conservation (DOC), Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), and Skyline Queenstown.


Since the early 1900’s, introduced wilding conifer trees spread up the hills behind Queenstown. They replaced the native flora and fauna, completely destroying the complex ecosystem of plants, insects and birds that used to exist here.

Around 2010, a small group of volunteers started working to prevent the spread of wilding conifers from the seed blowing up to the upper slopes from the mature Douglas fir forest below. Without this intervention, the upper slopes would have also lost the native shrubs, tussock, and beech forest they have today, and by now would be almost covered in forest up to the Saddle, eventually reaching the Summit. The stunning views would be lost and the iconic Ben Lomond track would become a walk through a featureless and dark exotic forest rather than a walk through a pristine and uniquely New Zealand alpine environment with incredible lake and mountain views.

Silent and Empty Wilding Conifer Forest
Do we want a silent wilding conifer monoculture forest?
Expansive views and biodiverse tussockland on Ben Lomond
...or expansive views and biodiverse tussockland and beech forest.

After 5 years of working tirelessly on the upper slopes, the group of volunteers realised that this approach was not sufficient for such a large area. To achieve the intensive, long term management required of the upper slopes, the WCG created the Adopt-a-Plot programme.

Ben Lomond Adopt-a-Plot Programme

Rather than a few volunteers looking after such a large area, the programme engages with many individuals, families, community groups, the local school, and businesses who provide intensive control of their own specific plot to keep it free of wilding pine seedlings.

Each plot holder is responsible for hand clearing their plot of seedlings and maintaining it each year to prevent regrowth. 2 or 3 days per year hand clearing is generally all it takes to maintain your plot but you decide when and how often you need to go up.

The WCG’s Volunteer Coordinator helps interested parties obtain a suitable plot, shows them how to manage it, and provides ongoing support including training, advice, and loan of tools and equipment. Each plot has signs along the Ben Lomond track marking the start and end of each plot for everyone to see.

Click on the map below to download plot locations PDF

Adopt a Plot Map



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