Fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) has been heavily browsed and often killed by brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in many New Zealand indigenous forests, but remains healthy at some sites despite long histories of possum occupation. To determine whether fuchsia varied genetically in its palatability to possums, material from six widely dispersed stands (provenances) was propagated, and leaf chemistry, leaf morphology, growth rate, and palatability to captive possums was compared.
Primary successions involving teatree (Kunzea ericoides var. ericoides with some Leptospermum scoparium) were studied on shallow landslide scars on soft sedimentary (mudstone) hill country under extensive pastoral use in the East Cape (Tairawhiti) region, using a 5-72 yr chronosequence established from sequential aerial photography and the age of the oldest teatrees on scars. Dynamics of primary even-aged teatree stands are similar to those in secondary successions on reverting pasture described previously from the region.
Descriptions of 247 forest stands at Waipoua Forest, Northland, were used to explore relationships between species richness (alpha-diversity) of the vascular flora and stand environmental characteristics, both in terms of total flora and within a number of the component synusiae. The Waipoua forests, with an average of 52 species per forest stand, are comparatively species-rich compared to other New Zealand forests.
The abundance of birds in three different-aged stands (young, mature, and old) was examined at North Okarito, a lowland rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum) forest in Westland, using 5-minute counts, transect counts, and mist-netting. Most of New Zealand's common forest bird species were present in the study area, with relatively high numbers of brown creeper (Mohoua novaeseelandiae) and New Zealand robin (Petroica australis), and low numbers of kaka (Nestor meridionalis) and yellow- crowned parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps).
Changes in density and breeding of the house mouse (Mus musculus) in a New Zealand forest dominated by hard beech (Nothofagus truncata) were monitored for 2.5 years. Mice bred during winter and increased dramatically in density only during a beech mast year. Mice readily ate the endosperm and embryo of hard beech seed in die laboratory and chemical analysis showed it to be a very nutritious food source, similar in quality to Fagus beech seed in the northern hemisphere.
Low acceptance of protein baits by common (Vespula vulgaris) and German (V. germanica) wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) occurred after rain in honeydew beech forest. This corresponded with a sharp decrease in the proportion of natural protein in the diet of V. vulgaris and V. germanica, and a reduction in the concentration of carbohydrate-rich honeydew in the crops of foraging wasps carrying liquid.