Ecology and management of South Island beech forests: The life history of silver beech (Nothofagus menziesii).
- Protection Forestry Division, Forest Research Institute, Rangiora.
Silver beech (Nothofagus menziesii) is found growing in a reasonably wide range of climatic and edaphic conditions although it is excluded from lowland sites in the warmer and drier areas of the country. An upper altitudinal limit of 1430 m is reached at timberline on Mt Hikurangi and at over 1200 m in the Tararua Range and Western Nelson. The upper limit is generally below 910 m in the eastern South Island and below 980 m in Western Fiordland. Silver beech is not common below 600 m in the North Island but descends to sea level south of Paringa in the South Island (Wardle 1967). This species is highly frost and exposure resistant and is capable of regeneration and growth on extreme sites; however it is intolerant of drought conditions (Williams and Chavasse 1951). Silver beech has the greatest shade tolerance of the New Zealand beech species.