Predation by mammals has been identified as the primary limiting factor of Aotearoa New Zealand native birds. Consequently, the ranges of many native forest bird species have contracted to cooler and higher elevation tracts of forest that support fewer introduced mammals. However, lower elevation forests are likely to be intrinsically more productive and able to sustain larger bird populations if control of mammalian pests removes predation as a primary limiting factor.
The arrangement of plant species along elevational gradients is prominent in the debate between individualistic versus community-unit concepts in plant ecology. We obtained elevational ranges (upper and lower elevation limits) for woody species and ferns on the three highest mountains on Aotea (Great Barrier Island), Aotearoa-New Zealand. These data allowed potential species composition to be obtained for any elevation and were analysed using regression, ordination, and classification. Both woody plants and ferns demonstrated linear declines in richness with increasing elevation.