Studies on the vegetation of Mount Colenso, New Zealand. 3. The population dynamics of red beech seedlings.
- Department of Botany and Zoology, Massey University
- Present address: Department of Botany, University of Canterbury, Christchurch
- Present address: Department of Biogeography and Geomorphology, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, Box 4 P.O., Canberra 2600, Australia
A population of red beech (Nothofagus fusca) seedlings was studied in a forest dominated by red beech but apparently with little regeneration. Estimates of the germination, growth and survival rates of seedlings growing on different microsites were obtained in three, one hectare stands over a one year period and the size and age structure of the population examined. Irregular and sometimes massive seedfalls occur but some seedlings establish at least every two or three years. The most favourable site for red beech seedling survival and growth is on rotting logs, but bare areas on the forest floor are also suitable. Extensive stands of Dicksonia lanata completely prevent seedling establishment. A simple model based on estimated survival rates on the various microsites and assuming certain patterns of seed input suggests that the population size is likely to be maintained or increased in the future. Little evidence was found for an adverse effect by introduced animals on the seedlingpopulation.