New Zealand’s formerly extensive lowland native forests have been comprehensively cleared or modified, and large areas of secondary-growth vegetation have subsequently established. These areas are comprised of native, exotic, and mixed tree and shrub species assemblages. The mature-phase canopy and emergent tree species representative of pre-human New Zealand forests are often rare or locally extinct in these forests, indicating negative ramifications for long-term biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service provision, especially such as carbon sequestration.
Despite the ecological importance of tree holes as habitat for many species in New Zealand, few studies have quantified the abundance, distribution or structural characteristics of tree holes in native forests. We recorded a total of 364 tree holes in ground-to-canopy surveys on 50 trees of five endemic species in the families Fagaceae and Podocarpaceae within Orikaka Ecological Area, Buller District, New Zealand. Tree holes were not uniformly distributed throughout the forest, with more holes in the three podocarp species Prumnopitys ferruginea, P.