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Vegetation and peat characteristics of restiad bogs on Chatham Island (Rekohu), New Zealand

Restiad bogs dominated by Sporadanthus traversii on Chatham Island, New Zealand, were sampled to correlate vegetation patterns and peat properties, and to compare with restiad systems dominated by Sporadanthus ferrugineus and Empodisma minus in the Waikato region, North Island, New Zealand. Classification and ordination resulted in five groups that reflected a disturbance gradient. The largest S. traversii group, which comprised plots from central, relatively intact bogs, had the lowest levels of total nitrogen (mean 1.20 mg cm-3), total phosphorus (mean 0.057 mg cm-3), total potassium (mean 0.083 mg cm-3), and available phosphorus (mean 18.6 μg cm-3). Modification by drainage, stock, and fires resulted in a decline of S. traversii and an increase of Gleichenia dicarpa fern cover, together with elevated peat nutrient levels and higher bulk density. Compared with peat dominated by Sporadanthus ferrugineus or Empodisma minus in relatively unmodified Waikato restiad bogs, Chatham Island peat under S. traversii has significantly higher total potassium, total nitrogen, available phosphorus, bulk density, and von Post decomposition indices, and significantly lower pH. Sporadanthus traversii and Empodisma minus have similar ecological roles in restiad bog development, occupying a relatively wide nutrient range, and regenerating readily from seed after fire. Despite differences in root morphology, S. traversii and E. minus are the major peat formers in raised restiad bogs on Chatham Island and in Waikato, respectively, and could be regarded as ecological equivalents.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Clarkson, B. R., Schipper, L. A., & Clarkson, B. D. (2004). Vegetation and peat characteristics of restiad bogs on Chatham Island (Rekohu), New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany. 42(2), 293-312 .
Royal Society of New Zealand
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, New Zealand Journal of Botany, 42(2), (2004), (c) Royal Society of New Zealand at the Royal Society of New Zealand Journals Online webpages.