Managed pine plantations now constitute a large portion of mainland New Zealand. Despite many native birds inhabiting these exotic habitats, their value for biodiversity conservation is unclear. Although numerous studies have quantified densities of native bird species in pine plantations, it is unknown whether these individuals constitute self-sustaining populations. Here we address this question for North Island robins (Petroica longipes) in a Pinus radiata plantation in the central North Island.
Biodiversity assets often require conservation management, which, in turn, necessitates decisions about which ecosystem, community or species should be prioritised to receive resources. Population viability analysis (PVA) uses a suite of quantitative methods to estimate the likelihood of population decline and extinction for a given species, and can be used to assess a population's status, providing useful information to decision-makers. In New Zealand, a range of taxa have been analysed using the PVA approach, but the scope of its implementation has not previously been reviewed.
In the first quantitative study of an endemic New Zealand aphid, the only known field populations of the rare Paradoxaphis plagianthiwere monitored for two years from 1999 to 2001. The species appears to be anholocyclic, persisting viviparously throughout the year on its deciduous host tree, the lowland ribbonwood (Plagianthus regius). Local aphid abundance increased rapidly in spring as new leaves appeared, but collapsed abruptly in November, probably due to dispersal and a decline in resource quality.
The objective of this study was to quantify the population dynamics, morphological characteristics, and diet of rodents on Rangitoto Island (Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand) to provide information for the future development of an eradication strategy. An aerial 1080 operation to eradicate possums and wallabies was carried out two months after the study began. The effects of this operation on rodent population dynamics are discussed. Both ship rats (Rattus rattus) and mice (Mus musculus) were trapped on Rangitoto Island over a 15 month period.
We examined possum trapping data collected from 1945 to 1989 in the Pararaki catchment to assess whether there was any evidence for a major natural decline in possum numbers several decades after colonisation and whether the population has subsequently shown any long-term trend in abundance. The catchment was probably colonised by possums around 1915-20. We found evidence for a major decline (c. 80%) in possum numbers between 1945 and 1965. There was no significant trend in our trap catches from 1965 to 1976, but in 1977 there was a further abrupt decline.
The population dynamics of the Cape Royds rookery were modelled by computer, in order to determine the probable causes of the dramatic increase since 1980 in the numbers of Adelie penguins, Pygoscelis adeliae, breeding in the Ross Sea region, Antarctica. Variations in the extent of sea-ice around the rookery during incubation and chick rearing cannot feasibly explain the population increase and another factor or event must be introduced, which increases chick production per breeding pair and decreases adult mortality.
Brushtail possums began colonising a rata/kamahi forest in the Taramakau catchment, Westland, about 1950 and by 1973 had caused widespread conspicuous canopy defoliation. They were poisoned in one block of this forest in 1970, at about the time they reached peak density, and again in 1974. In an adjacent block they were poisoned in 1974 only. A survey of forest canopy condition in 1985 showed that, in the block poisoned at peak density, 21% of the basal area of palatable trees had died compared with 47% in the block where poisoning was deferred for 4 years.
An estimate of intrinsic rate of increase (r(m)) of a brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) population was calculated from the measured increase in possum numbers after a poisoning operation in Westland rata/kamahi forest. Our empirical estimate of r(m) (0.22—0.25) was lower than published estimates for this species (0.30, 0.34, 0.59). Consequently, the control operation was effective for longer than predicted by population models that used these published values.
Increased dieback in Westland rata (Metrosideros umbellata)-kamahi (Weinmannia racemosa) forests has been linked to the build-up of populations of the Australian brush-tailed possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). Within these forests young even-aged stands are observed to be more resilient to dieback than older stands. The effect of possum browsing on individual rata trees was related to the level of defoliation. Trees which had been not or only lightly browsed maintained intact canopies.
Withdrawal of the use of cheap, persistent organochlorine insecticides in New Zealand pastures has shifted the emphasis of insect pest control to non-chemical methods during the last 10-15 years.