The data of Lloyd (1971) on the 'chosen tree' and 'chosen seedlings' in 5607 4 x 4 m plots in Russell forest are analysed using a simple transition matrix model. The most realistic analysis predicts little change in relative species composition, other than a slight increase in the softwoods. The virtue of the approach lies more in the questions it raises than in the predictions obtained. Before such models can be applied satisfactorily in New Zealand basic data on seedling survival, tree growth rates and average life spans are required for most indigenous species.
An approach is outlined for synthesising current understanding of nitrogen dynamics in natural grasslands and extensively managed grassland systems. The increasing complexity of models is illustrated from recent literature, first conceptualising and eventually process-simulating the dynamics of nitrogen, especially in the soil sub-systems of grasslands. Some comparisons are made between New Zealand and North American grasslands in the magnitude of some N pools and fluxes and some of the principal features of soil biological studies are noted.