Dacrycarpus dacrydioides forests in South Westland between the Waitangitaona and Saltwater rivers occur on low terraces of alluvial silt. Their relationship to other river flat and swamp communities on post-glacial surfaces is described. Recently abandoned river beds are colonised by pioneer species, which give way to vegetation dominated by grasses, sedges and rushes, which in turn are invaded by woody plants, especially Coprosma propinqua and Podocarpus totara var. waihoensis.
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.
To test the hypothesis that the divaricate habit protects internal leaves from cold and dry conditions, and raises leaf temperatures on cold sunny days, thermocouples were attached to internal and external leaves on divaricate plants. For Coprosma propinqua plants at Cass, inland Canterbury, there were consistent differences in temperature between leaves, but these were not simply related to their canopy position (interval vs. external).