Developing a forest biodiversity monitoring approach for New Zealand

There is a lack of comprehensive and consistent information to inform policy makers about the status of New Zealand’s forest biodiversity. Three reasons for collecting such information are: assessing the effectiveness of management, reporting on the status of biodiversity under national and international requirements, and improving our knowledge of ecosystem dynamics for designing effective management systems. The challenge is to design monitoring systems that address these multiple needs simultaneously, and at a range of spatial and temporal scales.

Burning in a New Zealand snow-tussock grassland: Effects on vegetation and soil fauna

Soil conditions, vegetation features and soil fauna were recorded in montane tall tussock grassland dominated by narrow- leaved snow tussock Chionochloa rigida ssp. rigida up to 30 months after a spring fire. Burning reduced the stature of tussocks and the size and density of tillers in the first growing season. After two growing seasons, tussock canopy development and tiller size remained below those found in the unburnt grassland nearby. New tillers and tussocks established following the prolific fire-induced flowering one year after burning.

Soil changes associated with cessation of sheep grazing in the Canterbury high country, New Zealand

Soil characteristics were examined within and adjacent to two vegetation exclosures near Porters Pass, Canterbury retired from grazing 45 years ago. Soils were analysed for a range of simple physical (topsoil depth, bulk density), chemical (pH, exchangeable cations, P, S, total C and N) and biochemical (microbial carbon) properties to determine whether the vegetation recovery inside the exclosures was reflected in soil differences.