New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1986) 9: 41- 55

The Cockayne Plots of Central Otago—a 1985 Evaluation

Research Article
B. J. Wills  
J. S. C. Begg  
  1. National Plant Materials Centre, Water and Soil Directorate, Ministry of Works and Development, , P.O. Box 273, Alexandra, New Zealand

The 'regrassing' trials established by L. Cockayne in 1920 on Northburn Station, near Cromwell, Central Otago, were last described by Douglas (1970) from observations made in 1967. In this paper, the early results are briefly reviewed and discussed in comparison to a 1984/85 assessment of the plots.
This assessment includes quantitative data on the composition and spread of both pasture species and tree species inside and outside each trial area, thus establishing a base for future appraisals of Cockayne's plots.
The ability of several plant species to survive and spread from the plots, despite the semi-arid climate and soils of low fertility, is noted in relation to possible low-cost development in depleted tussock grasslands. The spread of conifers from the Cockayne plots is viewed with concern.