Many restoration projects aim to increase populations of native fauna and flora, but benefits to the ecological interactions between species are unknown. The restoration of bird pollination services to Fuchsia excorticata (tree fuchsia) was examined at Maungatautari, in the Waikato Region, New Zealand. At Maungatautari, a pest-exclusion fence encloses ~3400 ha of native forest, within which most mammalian pests were eradicated between 2004 and 2007.
To assess the effect of possum browse on plant growth, an index of the amount of foliage on about 50 trees of Fuchsia excorticata and the number of trees that died or were completely defoliated was measured at five sites in South Westland over 5 years. This index was compared to possum density indices taken at each site each year. At one site, possums were reduced from a high density about 6 months before the final measurement. The degree of defoliation of fuchsia was significantly related to the density of possums at each site.