cattle grazing

The shifting floristic complexion of Molesworth

Drought-resistant woody communities were once widespread in the intermontane basins and slopes of Molesworth Recreation Reserve, northeastern South Island. These forests, woodlands, and shrublands had established by 6000 years BP, and were largely converted to tussock grassland by fire before 1800 AD. Sheep and rabbit herbivory, and regular burning had altered the vegetation by 1940. From the 1940s, beef cattle grazing was adopted on Molesworth along with repeated aerial over-sowing of exotic pasture grasses and suppression of fires.