The structure and composition of two forests buried by the Taupo eruption
Reconstructions of forests buried by the c. AD 130 Taupo eruption were based on plant macrofossils collected mainly from two mires at Pureora and Benneydale, central North Island. The forests were dominated, by rimu, with tanekaha a major canopy component at Pureora whereas northern rata was frequent at Benneydale. Overall species compositions were similar with differences attributed to altitude and climate. Present-day forests adjacent to the sites are significantly different in composition to buried forests. They have a large component of the broadleaved species tawa, kamahi, and mahoe, none of which was represented in the macrofossils recovered. On the other hand, several buried forest species do not grow in adjacent today. The AD 130/ AD 1986 vegetation differences are attributed to many factors, including volcanic devastation, improved soil drainage, aeration and fertility, and possible deterioration of climate.