Autecology and the New Zealand flora
In the investigation and description of our native and introduced plant communities we are reaching the stage when there is need for more detailed knowledge of the actual species-that is their autecology. In his presidential address to the British Ecological Society Clapham (1956) pointed out that "it is the primary concern of a plant ecologist to explain why a plant of this species and not of that is growing in a given spot."
The New Zealand flora affords plenty of scope for autecological studies among the endemic species, monotypic genera, species of diverse life forms such as cushion plants, lianes and epiphytes and those with distinct juvenile and adult forms; but very few such studies have been published. Various aspects of the growth and ecology of the Nothofagus species have been admirably dealt with by Pool and Holloway, but there is very little of this type of information on the podocarps or other species of the subtropical rainforest and the symposium at the last meeting of this society emphasised the gaps in our knowledge of the life-cycle and growth of the species of the tussock grassland.