New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1985) 8: 163- 174

The environmental consequences to New Zealand of nuclear warfare in the northern hemisphere

Statement of Concern
Council of the New Zealand Ecological Society  
  1. New Zealand Ecological Society, Inc., New Zealand

The New Zealand Ecological Society is a scientific society formed in 1951 "to promote the study of ecology and the application of ecological knowledge in all its aspects". It draws its membership primarily from research and teaching institutions. On three occasions in its history the Society has prepared substantive statements on ecological issues it regarded as of national importance: the utilisation of South Island beech forests (1973); a population policy for New Zealand (1974); and the generation of nuclear power in New Zealand (1977).
The Council of the New Zealand Ecological Society has undertaken an assessment of the scientific evidence on the environmental consequences to New Zealand, of nuclear warfare in the Northern Hemisphere. Its conclusion is that even a small-scale nuclear war confined to the Northern Hemisphere will have far-reaching and, in some cases, unpredictable consequences for the New Zealand environment. The Council now believes it cannot continue to promote concern for the New Zealand environment and yet remain silent over the threat to world ecosystems posed by nuclear armaments.
This statement, which summarises published information available to the Council up to July 1984, is an apolitical expression of concern. It seeks to convey to a wider audience the likely effects of a Northern Hemisphere nuclear war on the New Zealand environment, and to identify issues requiring action within New Zealand.