The impact, past, present, and future of ling heather (Calluna vulgaris) on plant communities in Tongariro National Park
Ling heather was first introduced to Tongariro National Park in 1912. Areas of red tussock (Chionochloa rubra) grassland were burnt and heather sown and planted. Until the early 1970s the distribution of heather remained generally within its original boundaries on the western side of the Park. It has now replaced much of the red tussock grassland in the Park and is a constituent of a wide range of other native and exotic plant communities. Future spread appears to be limited by environmental factors such as altitudinal limits and soil type, exclusion from established woody plant communities, and by more aggressive woody species becoming established amongst stands of heather.