ecological classification

New Zealand’s historically rare terrestrial ecosystems set in a physical and physiognomic framework

Terrestrial ecosystems that were rare before human colonisation of New Zealand often have highly specialised and diverse flora and fauna characterised by endemic and nationally rare species. Although many of these ecosystems are under threat from anthropogenic modification and their biodiversity values are declining, they still are not adequately identified by current land classifications. We compiled a list of 72 rare ecosystems from the literature and by canvassing New Zealand ecologists and land managers. Rare ecosystems are defined as those having a total extent less than 0.5% (i.e.