Manawatu sand plain vegetation
- Botany Division, D.S.I.R., Palmerston North
Sand plains are low-lying areas where wet sand near the water-table is exposed by wind. In the literature the plant communities of sand plains have received only brief mention (Cockayne 1911, 1928; Pegg 1914; Carnahan 1957; Moore & Adams 1963). Along the Manawatu coast some sand plain communities have retained their identity uninfluenced by the factors which have altered the composition and vigour of almost all other New Zealand vegetation. They remain both in spite of, and because of, the extreme environment. The species are not equally attuned to the environment of the sand country and each expresses its responses, in part, by its pattern of distribution.
This paper examines these patterns in relation to the position of the water-table, which has a critical influence because of the limited ability of the sand to store water or to lift it above the water-table in appreciable amounts.