Estimates of vegetation attributes measured by sampling often inform scientific inference, management actions, and policy decisions. However, different sampling methods and sample sizes (i.e. number of plots) can yield significantly different estimates of vegetation attributes. This occurs because the abundance distributions and spatial distributions of species in the plant community influence their probabilities of detection and estimates of their abundances.
We studied vegetation change on 142 permanently marked transects spread throughout tussock grasslands of Otago and Canterbury, in areas subject to both pastoral and conservation management. The transects were established between 1982 and 1986 and remeasured between 1993 and 1999, providing a record of vegetation change at each site over an interval varying from 10 to 15 years. Each transect consisted of 50 quadrats, each 0.25m(2), in which the presence of all vascular plant species had been recorded.
Previous studies have shown that indigenous beetle diversity reflects indigenous plant diversity in modified and remnant habitats. This study examines the indigenous: introduced relationship at a locality where degraded pasture has been progressively revegetated. Pitfall traps were used to collect beetles from three revegetated sites of different ages (5, 17 and 100 years) and in a coastal Muehlenbeckia habitat on Matiu- Somes Island (25 ha), Wellington Harbour, New Zealand. A total of 78 morphospecies were found over 12 months.
Exotic pine plantations constitute a significant landscape feature in the North Island of New Zealand but their conservation value for native plant species is not often documented. Pine stem density, height and basal area of nine plantations of Pinus radiata ranging in age from 6 to 67 years in Kinleith Forest was determined. Pines reached heights of 60 m, and stand basal areas up to 183 ± 14 m(2)ha(-1). The abundance of woody shrubs, tree ferns and ground ferns was assessed in each stand.
The Humped-back theory of plant species richness, a theory related to Grime's C-S-R 'triangular' model, has been widely discussed, and some evidence has been claimed in support of it. The theory suggests that species richness is maximal at intermediate levels of productivity, i.e., at intermediate positions on a stress/favourability gradient. We sought evidence for the theory from 90 stands of native podocarp/broadleaved and beech forest in the Coastal Otago region, with an adjustment made for the effect of stand area on species richness.
Descriptions of 247 forest stands at Waipoua Forest, Northland, were used to explore relationships between species richness (alpha-diversity) of the vascular flora and stand environmental characteristics, both in terms of total flora and within a number of the component synusiae. The Waipoua forests, with an average of 52 species per forest stand, are comparatively species-rich compared to other New Zealand forests.
Robust monitoring systems are required to improve the ecological outcomes of management actions aimed at preventing biodiversity loss. We present a pilot study that measured assemblages of widespread and common bird species at the national scale in New Zealand. Bird surveys were undertaken at 18 sampling locations (six per land cover class: forest, shrubland and non-woody) randomly selected from a national grid. The full sampling protocol (five count stations surveyed on each of two consecutive days) was implemented at 80% of sampling locations.
Exotic plant invasions are a key threat to New Zealand biodiversity. Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides; Amaranthaceae) is an invasive, herbaceous weed native to South America. Little is known about its dynamics in natural ecosystems in its introduced range, despite known agricultural impacts. We quantified alligator weed infestation at Lake Rotokawau, Northland, and investigated alligator weed’s relationship with other vegetation, both native and exotic, over a year (Nov. 2005 to Sep. 2006).
Species abundance, species richness, and ground cover were measured over 10 years on nine paired grazed and exclosure plots in short-tussock grassland in the early stages of invasion by Hieracium species. With and without grazing, H. pilosella and H. caespitosum increased markedly and H. lepidulum increased locally. In contrast, 50% of all other common species and species groups, and total, native, and exotic species richness declined significantly.