Vegetation recovery and management of kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides)-dominated forest remnants in the Waikato Region
Wilcox, F. J. (2010). Vegetation recovery and management of kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides)-dominated forest remnants in the Waikato Region (Thesis, Master of Science (MSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5112
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5112
The principle aim of this study was to determine whether fencing alone is a sufficient management tool for facilitating the recovery and persistence of indigenous flora in kahikatea-dominated forest patches in the Waikato region. The floral composition of twenty-six kahikatea-dominated forest patches of varied fencing time, management regime and proximity to an urban area (Hamilton City) were sampled using a modified RECCE method in 10x10m quadrats between October 2007 and February 2008. Where woody weed species were present within a forest patch, their diameter at breast height (d.b.h) and reproductive status was noted (presence/absence of flowers and/or fruit). The results of the study demonstrate that, while fencing of a patch and time for native vegetation recovery are important factors in promoting native floral species recovery and ecosystem composition, the combination of patch size, distance of a patch from a main road, and patch location were better predictors of the observed variation in native species cover than fencing time alone; particularly in the layers most affected by grazing. This study indicates that patches less than seven hectares in area, regardless of location, will require continued human intervention to ensure their persistence; and patches in urban areas, irrespective of size, may never become self-sustaining. Furthermore, the results indicate that medium to low levels of management are the most effective in promoting native flora species recovery and reducing exotic species impacts. Fifteen to twenty years of fencing represents an important stage in the trajectory of a forest fragment where exotic species cover drops below 5%, and native species recruitment is steadily rising. However, the trajectory of floristic change will be different for each patch depending on the length of time since fragmentation, the length of time it has been grazed, how far it is from native seed sources and its surrounding landscape use.
University of Waikato
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