Ecology and distribution of silver beech (Nothofagus menziesii) in the Paringa district, South Westland, New Zealand
- Botany Division, DSIR, Private Bag, Christchurch, New Zealand
In the Paringa district, extensive beech-dominant stands are found from about 500 m alt. to the timberline and also on valley floors. Extensive beech-codominant stands occur at 300-500 m alt., and on coastal hills, where they may descend to sea level. Isolated stands are found on river banks and on high spurs and ridges. Seedlings become established on elevated microsites, e.g. logs, where there is a well-developed understorey. If there is no understorey, seedlings are more abundant, and ground-based. Pioneer trees on recent alluvium grow fastest, while trees in heathland grow slowest. Growth rate decreases with increasing altitude. Most of the stands have a stable uneven-aged structure. Spread into heathland with a discontinuous cover of woody plants is more rapid than spread into closed forest and subalpine scrub. Seedlings and saplings growing in the forest are fully mycorrhizal, while those growing on recently deposited alluvium have few mycorrhizae, showing that t!