Changes in the vegetation of Flat Top Hill, a highly modified conservation area in semi;arid Central Otago, New Zealand, are described four years after the cessation of sheep and rabbit grazing. Unusually moist weather conditions coincide with the four-year period of change in response to the cessation of grazing. Between 1993 and 1997, the average richness and diversity (H') of species increased, and the average proportion of native species decreased significantly.
Changes in Hieracium abundance in Eastern Otago tussock grassland were examined by sampling 163 sites in 1982 and again in 1992. For Hieracium pilosella, H. praealtum and H. lepidulum, as well as Agrostis capillaris for comparison, colonisation of new sites was recorded, as well as extinction of species from sites over the 10 years, and changes in cover. H. pilosella colonised the majority of sites from which it had been absent in 1982; it disappeared from only a few sites where it had been present at very low cover.
The effects of environment and management on the composition of short-tussock grasslands and the abundance of the invasive weed Hieracium pilosella were investigated in two small catchments. Species composition and site factors were recorded on a total of 182 plots and the management history of each catchment was reviewed. H. pilosella was present on >80% of all plots, but was at an early stage of invasion in one catchment (<5% cover) and dominant in the other (25% cover).
A vegetation sampling technique is described where the prime measurement is only the listing of the relative order of abundance (rank) of species at a series of sample points and is estimated visually. Such data are appropriate for ordinal methods of statistical analysis. Repeated measurements show that the observer is only a small component of variation in rank values.