forest loss

Conserving biodiversity in New Zealand’s lowland landscapes: does forest cover or pest control have a greater effect on native birds?

Effective biodiversity conservation in lowland New Zealand requires an understanding of the relative benefits of managing impacts of native forest loss versus controlling invasive species. We used bird count data from 195 locations across mainland northern New Zealand to examine how the abundance and richness of native forest birds varied across wide gradients of native forest cover (c. 0–100%) and intensity of invasive species control (‘eradication’, ‘high-intensity rat and possum’, ‘low-intensity rat and possum’, ‘periodic possum’ and ‘none’).

One hundred years of vegetation change at Cass, eastern South Island high country

Fire, pastoral farming and exotic species have been major drivers of vegetation change in the eastern South Island high country since human arrival. More recently, fire frequency and grazing intensity have declined allowing regeneration of previously suppressed woody elements in some areas, such as our 1775 ha Cass study site. We collected vegetation and abiotic data from 117 Recce plots (10 × 10 m) using an objective grid-based network to classify the vegetation, determine factors influencing vegetation pattern, discuss long-term vegetation changes and assess the role of exotic species.