Proceedings of the New Zealand Ecological Society (1975) 22: 42- 51

Soil in relation to forest type in beech forests in the Inangahua Depression, West Coast, South Island.

Research Article
G. Mew  
  1. Soil Bureau, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Nelson

The relationship between soil pattern and forest cover in the Inangahua Depression, West Coast, is examined and discussed. The relative effects of five soil forming factors, topography, parent material, climate, time and organisms are considered. The first four factors may be placed in a sequence of decreasing importance from climate through time and topography to parent material.
The soil pattern, predominantly yellow-brown earths, and the present distribution of vegetation are given, and the interactions between soil and vegetation discussed. A separate section attempts to describe the history of soil development and forest colonisation in the light of published evidence and the results of recent soil and forest surveys.
Conclusions are threefold. First, the beech and podocarp forest type that predominates in the Depression has enhanced the development of the major soil groups of the area. Second, there is a direct relationship between the pattern of forest types and soils over only about half the area considered. Third, a straightforward developmental sequence can be established to explain the present distribution of soils and vegetation without necessarily invoking recent climatic change.