Invasive house mice (Mus musculus) have detrimental effects on biodiversity, but their impacts can be difficult to detect and are often unquantified. We measured their effects on survival of a translocated population of an endangered lizard in New Zealand. Twelve captive-reared Otago skinks (Oligosoma otagense) were translocated to a 0.3-ha area of grassland/shrubland cleared of invasive mammals and surrounded by a mammal-resistant fence. Sixteen more skinks were released 2 years later but this was followed by an incursion of mice for c. 160 days.
Predictions from three conceptual models of the dynamics of semi-arid vegetation (Clementsian succession, alternative stable states and annuation/pulse phenomena) are used to review the available evidence on changes in the vegetation of semi- arid lowland Central Otago, New Zealand. Evidence is presented from Central Otago that corresponds with Clementsian succession and with annuation/pulse phenomena, although there is so far no formal evidence of alternative stable states.
An account is given of the vegetation of Flat Top Hill, in the driest part of semi-arid lowland Central Otago, New Zealand. Although highly modified, the area was acquired for conservation in 1992, following almost 150 years of pastoral use. The vegetation was sampled in a composite scheme using permanent monitoring sites placed to include the majority of habitats and communities present. A number of environmental factors were measured in each sample. Native species comprise 53% of the vascular flora of the area (211 species).
The vegetation of an area of the Upper Clutha basin, New Zealand, with a 'semi-arid' climate, was sampled with 95 quadrats in a nested randomised design. All types of vegetation were sampled, from near-natural to managed pastures. Twenty four environmental factors were measured in each quadrat. Five 'formations' are described, and 14 'communities' recognised within them, although there are few constant or faithful species. Such weak structure, and relatively weak correlation with the environment, are partly attributed to non- equilibrium.