New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1997) 21(1): 17- 29

Plant species richness under Pinus radiata stands on the central North Island Volcanic Plateau, New Zealand

Research Article
John Ogden  
John Braggins  
Kim Stretton  
Sandra Anderson  
  1. School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Exotic pine plantations constitute a significant landscape feature in the North Island of New Zealand but their conservation value for native plant species is not often documented. Pine stem density, height and basal area of nine plantations of Pinus radiata ranging in age from 6 to 67 years in Kinleith Forest was determined. Pines reached heights of 60 m, and stand basal areas up to 183 ± 14 m(2)ha(-1). The abundance of woody shrubs, tree ferns and ground ferns was assessed in each stand. Understorey composition of shrubs and ferns was reflected on the first two axes of DCA ordinations and correlated with the age of the pines. Adventive shrubs predominated in stands Dicksonia squarrosa, which comprised 84% of individuals overall. Five species were present by 29 years. The faster growing Cynthea medullaris and C. smithii achieved greater heights than the Dicksonia spp., and their relative biomass was greatest in the oldest stands.