Ecological impacts of three weed species of similar life form, Asparagus scandens, Plectranthus ciliatus and Tradescantia fluminensis, were investigated in six lowland forest remnants in New Zealand. All three species form dense, ground-covering mats of vegetation, and are tolerant of a broad range of light environments. Relationships between canopy openness, weed volume, native plant abundance and native species richness were investigated. Volume of all three weed species increased as canopy openness increased.
In most regions of the world removal of environmental stress facilitates regeneration of native plants and habitats. However, in many of New Zealands modified landscapes, exotic species are likely to respond first to any reduction in stress because these fast-growing species are prevalent in local vegetation and dominate seed banks.
The Canterbury Plains have lost most of their pre-Polynesian indigenous vegetation, primarily forest and shrubland. One of the few remaining areas is the 2.3 ha Eyrewell Scientific Reserve which consists mostly of low kānuka (Kunzea ericoides) forest and a small area of grassland. We assessed the Reserve vegetation using a combination of plots and transect surveys at different times of the year between 2001–2003. For comparison with the Reserve vegetation we also assessed plots in an adjacent grazed kānuka remnant, adjacent cultivated pasture and Eyrewell Forest, a pine plantation.
Vegetation was sampled in kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides)-dominant forest fragments having different recovery periods since grazing ceased in the Waikato region, North Island, New Zealand. Changes in vegetation were modeled against recovery periods ranging from 0–74 y and in relation to position within fragment (edge or interior). Indigenous plant species richness increased and adventive plant species (mostly pasture herbs) richness declined with increasing recovery period; small tree and sapling density and seedling ground cover increased.
This study examined whether the diversity and relative abundance of ground-dwelling invertebrates changed in relation to type of vegetation cover. Invertebrate taxon diversity and relative abundance were assessed with pitfall traps placed under the native shrubs Olearia bullata and Coprosma propinqua, and in surrounding patches of exotic pasture. A total of 1935 invertebrates and at least 152 invertebrate taxa were recorded from 49 pitfall traps. The number of native taxa was c.63% of all taxa recorded, whereas exotic invertebrates represented only c.9%.
The New Zealand flatworm, Arthurdendyus triangulatus (formerly Artioposthia triangulata) has become established in the British Isles and the Faroe Islands and its human-mediated spread within Northern Ireland and Scotland is well documented. The geographical distributions within New Zealand of it and two related species, A. australis and A. testacea have always been assumed to reflect the natural distribution patterns.
Despite the global importance of New Zealands invertebrates, relatively little is known about them and their relationships with plants and plant communities in native habitats. Invertebrate diversity was examined by beating randomly chosen shrubs of the species Olearia bullata (Asteraceae) and Coprosma propinqua(Rubiaceae). Invertebrate taxon richness was assessed initially using morphospecies, which were identified subsequently by expert taxonomists. Though the taxon richness of invertebrates recorded from O. bullata was not significantly higher than that on C.
Insect communities from a range of successional vegetation stages on the central North Island volcanic plateau were characterised and compared using Malaise trapped beetle samples. Results were derived from sampling series conducted in a total of ten sites over three separate summers. Divisive classification successfully grouped samples according to four main habitat types despite temporal and spatial separation of samples within these groups. A four-week period in early summer was found to be optimum for sample discrimination according to the main vegetation types.
There is an increasing requirement to breed durable resistances to woolly apple aphid (WAA) into apple cultivars. Genetically diverse apple plantings have been established in New Zealand with one aim to identify new sources of resistance to this pest, and also to allow the computation of parameters of genetic interest. Such computations are hindered by the uneven distribution of the pest in the orchard. The spatial distribution of WAA was investigated using local trend surfaces to examine large scale patterns, and point process analyses to check for the presence of small scale clumping.
Exotic pine plantations constitute a significant landscape feature in the North Island of New Zealand but their conservation value for native plant species is not often documented. Pine stem density, height and basal area of nine plantations of Pinus radiata ranging in age from 6 to 67 years in Kinleith Forest was determined. Pines reached heights of 60 m, and stand basal areas up to 183 ± 14 m(2)ha(-1). The abundance of woody shrubs, tree ferns and ground ferns was assessed in each stand.