Large areas of mountain beech (Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides) forest in the South Island of New Zealand have been destroyed by fire and replaced by grassland or shrubland. Mountain beech regenerates into grassland or shrubland mainly by slow spread from forest margins, though instances of long-distance spread into manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) shrubland have been recorded.
We compared establishment of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Corsican pine (Pinus nigra) seedlings in kanuka (Kunzea ericoides) and manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) shrubland to test the hypothesis that Douglas fir, because of its greater shade tolerance, is better able to establish in woody communities than pine species. Seed of the conifer species was sown under a range of canopy covers at six sites, the cover being low-statured vegetation in openings between stands, stand edges, and moderate and dense canopies.