Gorse is a nitrogen-fixing plant, meaning it extracts nitrogen from the air to help it grow. Research shows this process causes gorse to leach a huge amount of nitrogen into ground water, which then makes its way to the lake. Too much nitrogen in the lake causes algal blooms to grow, damaging the overall quality of water.
Put simply, gorse is a stubborn weed that offers no land productivity or environmental benefits. It’s also hard to eradicate – if left unmanaged after clearing, it will most likely grow back.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council finalised 10 gorse agreements with Rotorua landowners and assisted with converting 267 ha of gorse to productive, low leaching land uses. There is also the 190 ha of gorse that has been controlled via incentives agreements.