Areas of indigenous forest in urban and rural areas are often the last remaining examples of lowland ecosystems that were once extensive before human settlement. Conserving the indigenous invertebrate species in these remnants requires knowledge of how many taxa are functionally isolated and how many are capable of dispersing to, and persisting in, forest restoration sites and the surrounding matrix.
Pollination is an essential ecosystem service that can be affected by habitat features in the immediate environment, termed here ‘local landscape features’. This study tested how five local landscape features (bare ground, native biodiversity plantings, homestead gardens, shelterbelts, and control areas of pasture) affect local pollinator communities on Canterbury farms. We also compared two sampling methods (flower visitation to native potted plants vs sticky traps) to determine if the sampling method affects the results of landscape-feature comparisons.
Spatial associations between the invasive tree lupin (Lupinus arboreus), the New Zealand endemic widow spider Latrodectus katipo (katipo), and the introduced South African spider Steatoda capensis (false katipo) were examined within the nationally significant Kaitorete Spit dune system in Canterbury, New Zealand. These dunes are considered to be a stronghold for L. katipo, but with the decline in preferred vegetation for capture-web attachment as a result of tree lupin invasion, a decline in the spider’s population was expected.
The habitat use and movements of a population of Australian, brush-tailed opossums, Trichosurus vulpecula (Kerr), were studied by live-trapping, spotlighting and radiotelemetry in a mixed pasture, bush and scrub habitat on Banks Peninsula, New Zealand. Resident opossums had distinct ranges that for some animals varied in position and size and, for all, varied in intensity of use of habitat types during the year. Seasonal foods and breeding behaviour were reasons for shifts in ranges and changes in their sizes.
Five herbivorous introduced mammals are sympatric in the central Southern Alps. All of these species have the potential to affect conservation values, yet the Department of Conservation at present monitors and mitigates the impacts of only one. We outline ecological arguments for multi-species management of sympatric herbivore pest impacts and use the two- species system of sympatric thar and chamois to highlight the need for multi-species management of the central Southern Alps alpine pest community.
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.
The takahe (Notornis mantelli), an endangered rail once widely distributed through New Zealand, had become restricted to Fiordland, and possibly Nelson and the Ruahine Ranges, by European times. Two contentious viewpoints have been advanced to explain the decline: climate and vegetational changes in the late Pleistocene and Holocene; and ecological changes induced by early Polynesians. These theories are examined in relation to the habitat requirements of takahe in its present restricted range, the historical and sub-fossil record, and the possible age of the sub-fossils.
Urbanisation is a significant and increasing threat to biodiversity at the global scale. To maintain and restore urban biodiversity, local communities and organisations need information about how to modify green spaces to enhance species populations. ‘Citizen science’ initiatives monitoring the success of restoration activities also require simple and robust tools to collect meaningful data. Using an urban monitoring study of the bellbird (Anthornis melanura), we offer advice and guidance on best practice for such monitoring schemes.
Despite periods of extensive government-funded control, fluctuating commercial exploitation and ongoing recreational hunting, little is known about how red deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus Lönnberg) in New Zealand respond to the cessation of harvesting in terms of population growth rate and resource use. We describe the population dynamics and resource use of red deer in a montane catchment over 5 years (1962–67) following cessation of intensive government-funded control in 1961.