Fire occurs relatively frequently in beech (Nothofagus) forest in drought prone eastern areas of the South Island, New Zealand. Because beech is poorly adapted to fire, and is slow to regenerate, forest is normally replaced by scrub or grassland. Seeding was investigated as a means of restoring mountain beech (N. solandri var. cliffortioides) forest after fire destroyed 300 ha of forest at Mt. Thomas, Canterbury, in 1980.
Food of the North Island kaka (Nestor meridionalis septentrionalis) on Kapiti Island was identified while quantifying the foraging activity of nine radio-tagged birds from March 1991 to January 1992. Additional food types were identified by opportunistic observation of feeding birds and qualitative examination of nestling faeces. A diverse range of food was taken, including wood-boring invertebrates, scale insects, seeds, nectar or pollen, fruits, and sap.
Biological and physical disturbance has had a severe impact on New Zealand's endemic flora and fauna. Along with the lessons of the past, predicting the sensitivity of communities to disturbance in the future may help direct more attention to those communities with a greater need for preservation (i.e., a lower ability to recover from any such disturbances). In theory it is possible to measure the resilience (or local stability) of a community by constructing a matrix to describe that community and then examining its eigenvalues.
Honeydew, the sugary exudate of the scale insect Ultracoelostoma brittini, is an important food source in black beech (Nothofagus solandri var. solandri) forests in the South Island of New Zealand. Two of the most prominent foragers of honeydew are honey bees (Apis mellifera) and wasps (Vespula germanica and V. vulgaris). Observations in the field and using a captive bee hive were used to investigate competition between bees and wasps feeding on honeydew.
In honeydew beech forest in the South Island of New Zealand, introduced Vespula vulgaris wasps are now very abundant. Approximated biomass estimates indicate that Vespula (mostly V. vulgaris) biomass (mean estimate at peak = 3761 g ha-1, averaged over the year = 1097 g ha-1) is as great as, or greater than combined biomasses of birds (best estimate = 206 g ha-1), rodents (up to 914 g ha-1 in some years, but usually much lower) and stoats (up to 30 g ha-1). Relative V.
The available literature on ragwort is reviewed. The ecological behaviour of ragwort can be explained by its tendency to act as a colonising plant, which is encouraged by pasture disturbance. Ragwort-infested pasture and closed pasture alternate with each other, and this is influenced by a number of environmental and management factors.
Winter is a challenging time for temperate insectivorous songbirds, due to colder temperatures, reduced prey activity and shorter diurnal foraging times. For species that are non-migratory, territorial and monogamous, winter conditions may result in within-pair competition. However, little is known about how monogamous pairs coexist on their winter territories. We investigated temporal patterns in male–female interactions of the New Zealand robin (Petroica australis to better understand mechanisms of coexistence during winter.
Holdaway (1989) described three phases of historical extinctions and declines in New Zealand avifauna, the last of which (Group III, declining 1780–1986) was associated with European hunting, habitat clearance, and predation and competition from introduced European mammals. Some forest bird species have continued to decline since 1986, while others have increased, usually after intensive species-specific research and management programmes.
Himalayan thar or tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) and brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) are native to the Himalaya, Europe and Australia, respectively, but are now sympatric in parts of the central Southern Alps, New Zealand. All three species are managed as pests by the Department of Conservation. We analysed the diets of 246 thar, 78 chamois and 113 possums collected in the central Southern Alps during 1988–1996.