New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2003) 27(2): 95- 105

Protected areas for kiwi in mainland forests of New Zealand: how large should they be?

Research Article
B. Basse 1
J. A. McLennan 2,*
  1. Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand
  2. Landcare Research Ltd., 33 Simla Avenue, Havelock North, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

This paper examines, theoretically, how dispersal affects the viability of brown kiwi populations in protected areas of different size. Brown kiwi are threatened by introduced mammalian predators in mainland forests and are likely to persist only in managed forests where predators are controlled. In each protected area, the kiwi population will function as a net source, with an outflow of juveniles into the adjoining forest and minimal backflow into the reserve. Computer simulations show the minimum area of forest required for population viability increases non-linearly as the mean dispersal distance of juveniles increases. Preliminary measurements of the mean dispersal distance of brown kiwi in the wild suggest kiwi populations are unlikely to be viable in protected areas of less than 10 000 ha. Our estimate of the forest area requirement for viable populations of brown kiwi agrees with those derived by earlier workers using biogeographic techniques.