Pioneer tree ferns influence community assembly in northern New Zealand forests
Cyathea medullaris (Cyatheaceae) is a frequent pioneer of disturbed areas (e.g. landslides) or edge environments, sometimes forming near continuous canopies. We test the hypothesis that colonisation by this species as a pioneer alters the seedling assemblage to favour more shade-tolerant broadleaved trees than that beneath another common native pioneer (Kunzea robusta, Myrtaceae) in the same landscapes. We compared vegetation and abiotic characteristics of 166 sites across the Auckland region where C. medullaris or K.