New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1979) 2: 11- 21

A century of change in the forests of the Ruahine range, North Island, New Zealand: 1870-1970

Research Article
A. Cunningham  
  1. New Zealand Forest Service, Napier, New Zealand

Botanists describing the area before 1920 made no mention of the forest deterioration described by later writers. In the 1870s and 1880s the lowland forests were cleared from the S. part of the range and grazing started on the N. and W. plateaux. Opossums (Trichosurus vulpecula) were liberated in the 1880s and red deer (Cervus elaphus) first entered the range about 1900. By 1940, deer damage was extensive and opossum damage had been noted. During the 1950s some forest canopies were severely damaged by opossums, and much forest collapse occurred in the 1960s. There has been subsequent recovery in some places and further deterioration in others. From author's summary.

Note: pages 12 and 16 were missing from the original digitisation.  These have since been scanned and added to the document, but we apologise for the lower quality of these pages.