Proceedings of the New Zealand Ecological Society (1970) 17: 57- 65

An ecological survey of Whatupuke Island, Hen and Chickens group

Research Article
M. A. Ritchie  
I. M. Ritchie  
  1. Forest and Range Experiment Station, Rangiora

SUMMARY: The vegetation of Whatupuke Island (240 acres, lat. 350 54' S., long. 174045' E.) is discussed under six headings: (I) Coastal herbs, grasses and shrubs; (2) Cordyline forest; (3)-(5) three phases in the succession after burning, with kanuka (Leptospermum ericoides) as a major species; and (6) puriri (Vitex lucens)-pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) forest. Stands of the latter are probably the most mature to be found on the Chicken Islands.
The soils have been classified as related to the northern brown granular loams and clays on the eastern portion (overlying rocks of the Coppermine plutonic series) and as northern yellow-brown earths on the western end (overlying metamorphosed sedimentary rocks).
170 species of vascular plants were found on the island. Of these, 18 were not found onadjacent Coppermine Island, 40 species are added to the list for Coppermine Island, and 22previous records are not confirmed.
Petrel burrows were found on all soil types provided there was sufficient depth, relativelyopen vegetative cover and at least a gradual slope.