Environmental variation is a crucial driver of ecological pattern, and spatial layers representing this variation are key to understanding and predicting important ecosystem distributions and processes. A national, standardised collection of different environmental gradients has the potential to support a variety of large-scale research questions, but to date these data sets have been limited and difficult to obtain.
Shrub encroachment in grassland environments is observed in many regions worldwide. However, in New Zealand, there is no consensus on the trend and magnitude of this phenomenon, and we lack empirical data to determine what environmental variables may promote shrub invasion. Here, we present a comprehensive study evaluating shrub cover change in a tussock water catchment in eastern Otago, New Zealand.
The literature on wind damage in New Zealand forests is reviewed to investigate how abiotic and biotic factors influence damage severity, damage type, and forest recovery. Winds that damage forests tend to result from extra-tropical depressions or from topographically enhanced westerly air flows. Severe wind damage can occur when wind speeds exceed c. 0 km/hr, although investigating the relationship between damage and wind speeds is difficult, as gusts, for which speed is usually unrecorded, are important.