Carex inopinata Cook (Cyperaceae) and Simplicia laxa Kirk (Poaceae) are two threatened ‘grassy’ plants that generally occur in dry grassland and rock outcrop habitats. However, the restriction of these species to such areas may indicate relict habitats. We tested this idea by translocating both species to Ōrokonui Ecosanctuary, near Dunedin. Carex inopinata was translocated to two sites (moderately- and highly-shaded) in 2010 and Simplicia laxa was translocated in 2011, but only to one site due to insuf cient propagated material.
Natural regeneration on waste rock was investigated at the old Wangaloa coal mine, south-east Otago. A 450-m long waste rock stack had been created 40–50 years ago, and has had little anthropogenic intervention since. The stack is made up of a gradient of three main waste rock types, defined as ‘silt-rich’, ‘mixed’, and ‘quartz-rich’, which reflect different proportions of loess siltstone and quartz gravel conglomerate. Plant species assemblages were quantified in four 5-m2 quadrats in each waste rock type.
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 challenge of community restoration is to understand and exploit the principles of ecological succession at all seral stages, by complementing and accelerating the processes of colonisation and regeneration. The main aim is to construct self-sustaining,appropriate communities, connected in the landscape, that meet conservation, landscape and crop production goals. Research, to date, has been biased towards the plant and soil components with little consideration for the animal element.
Heteroblasty, changes in vegetative phenotype during ontogeny, is unusually common in the New Zealand flora. Some feature(s) unique to the New Zealand situation must have influenced the evolution of this strategy. Similarities were examined between the ontogenetic changes in phenotype and growth strategy in Elaeocarpus hookerianus, Carpodetus serratus and Pseudopanax crassifolius. Variation in hypothesised light capture efficiency of juvenile and adult forms can be related to changes in the light environment that these growth forms experience.
Flowering intensity and plant size were monitored in 155 Festuca novae-zelandiae individuals over four years to determine if trade-offs exist between inflorescence production and vegetative growth, and between inflorescence production in different years. Less than half of the population flowered in any one year, 36% of individuals did not flower at all, and only 17% flowered in all four years of the study. Mean number of inflorescences per individual per year varied from 1.54 to 5.53 (maximum = 85).
Growth, sun/shade acclimation and nitrogen nutrition were examined in Tradescantia fluminensis to gain greater understanding of why this species is so successful in New Zealand native forest remnants. Over a two year period, the rate of shoot extension of T. fluminensis in a New Zealand mixed mahoe (Melicytus ramiflorus) coastal forest remnant showed a similar pattern to monthly mean values for mean daily air temperature and day length. Growth at the shoot apex was balanced by death at the shoot base.
Light environments in two lowland New Zealand podocarp rainforests are described using data from quantum sensors. Mean daily total photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) in the forest understorey varies from 2.6-5.2% incident PPFD in summer and 1.0-2.5% in autumn, and in gaps from 5.0-16.6% in summer and 6.3-8.3% in autumn. Pronounced differences in understorey PPFD occur between clear and overcast days. Overcast days tend to have a lower proportion of 2-minute periods with very low mean PPFD than clear days.
New Zealand's protected natural areas are being increasingly threatened by weeds as the natural landscape is fragmented and surrounding land use intensifies. To assist in designing management to reduce the threat, we attempted to determine the most important reserve characteristics influencing the presence of problem weeds in forest and scrub reserves. Data on 15 reserve characteristics were derived from surveys of 234 reserves.