NZ Beech Forest

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Published on January 2, 2008

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Beech Forest and Understory Communities of New Zealand :  Beech Forest and Understory Communities of New Zealand Kevin T. Fletcher Global Studies – New Zealand December 2005 Outline:  Outline Native beech species of New Zealand Nothofagus solandri N. fusca N. truncata N. menziesii Geography Beech forest composition & Understory communities Some problems facing beech forests today Questions?:  Questions? What makes the beech forests of New Zealand unique and worthy of our attention? Where are New Zealand’s beech forests located? What beech species are unique to New Zealand? What problems do beech forests face today? Native beech species of New Zealand:  Native beech species of New Zealand Nothofagus solandri Mountain Beech Nothofagus fusca Red Beech Nothofagus truncata Hard Beech Nothofagus menziesii Silver Beech Nothofagus truncata www.doc.govt.nz Why So Special?:  Why So Special? Most species of Nothofagus, including all 4 species endemic to New Zealand are evergreen, all are broadleaved. All 4 species endemic to New Zealand are evergreen broadleaves. New Zealand beeches often completely dominate the forest canopy layer. Beech forests dominate the South Island. (So we’re bound to see quite a few!) Mountain Beech Forests :  Mountain Beech Forests www.ffc.canterbury.ac.nz/ cass/rlabact2004.shtml www.ffc.canterbury.ac.nz/ cass/rlabact2004.shtml Nothofagus solandri Mountain Beech & Black Beech:  Nothofagus solandri Mountain Beech & Black Beech N. solandri var. solandri Found mainly in mountainous forests, often all the way to tree line Sometimes extends to sea level in southern latitudes Up to 15m tall and 1m across Nothofagus solandri occupies the widest habitat range of all New Zealand’s trees. N. solandri var. cliffortioides Black trunk due to mold. Found mostly in lowlands, range doesn’t extend as far south Up to 25m tall and 1.5m across http://static.flickr.com/15/20206410_c14edf378b_m.jpg Red Beeches:  Red Beeches http://www.bushmansfriend.co.nz/xurl/PageID/9165/ArticleID/-32615/function/moreinfo/content.html Nothofagus fusca Red Beech:  Nothofagus fusca Red Beech Found from mountains to lowlands, but neither as high nor as low as mountain beech. Trunks often with large buttresses. Grows up to 30m tall and 2m across Fresh wood appears dark red in color Bark sometimes used for a black dye http://www.nzplantpics.com/nz_trees.htm Hard Beeches:  Hard Beeches http://www.bushmansfriend.co.nz/xurl/PageID/9165/ArticleID/-32615/function/moreinfo/content.html http://y23.50g.com/hauturu7/ Nothofagus truncata Hard Beech:  Nothofagus truncata Hard Beech High silica content in wood. Hard to saw. Found in lowland regions of North Island and northern South Island Grows up to 30m tall and 2m across http://y23.50g.com/hauturu7/ http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/vascular_plants/index02.asp?Filter=n&FilterStatus=12 Silver Beeches:  Silver Beeches http://www.doc.govt.nz/Explore/001~Other-Places/008~Wellington/Tararua-Forest-Park/index.asp Nothofagus menziesii Silver Beech:  Nothofagus menziesii Silver Beech Named for its white bark, especially in young trees Found in northern and southern South Island but not in the middle; montane forests up to tree line in wet conditions Grows up to 30m tall and 2m across Unique: doesn’t hybridize with other three, and hosts strawberry fungus (Cyttaria) which is considered edible http://www.richardwhite.com.au/Gallery/gallery5.html www.mycolog.com Distribution:  Distribution Nothofagus truncata Nothofagus fusca Nothofagus solandri Nothofagus menziesii Maps from http://nothofagus.free.fr/originegeographique.htm Beech forest composition:  Beech forest composition Basic forest composition: 4 layers Canopy layer Sub-Canopy layer Understory layer Forest floor Canopy Layer:  Canopy Layer Comprises only a few species in beech forests Entirely beech trees, unless in a mixed podocarp-hardwood forest Other trees in a mixed forest might include: kamahi (Weinmannia racemosa), totara (Podocarpus hallii), rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum), miro (Prumnopitys ferrugineus) Weinmannia racemosa Kamahi :  Weinmannia racemosa Kamahi http://www.forestlight.co.uk/cgi-bin/gallery.pl?fn=display&photo_no=218 www.mountainhouse.co.nz/ tracks.htm www.explornz.co.nz/ Discovery.htm Lord of the Rings? http://www.deliciousorganics.com/Products/organic_raw_honey.htm Podocarpus ballii Totara:  Podocarpus ballii Totara orongorongo.wellington.net.nz/ totara.htm www.fore.canterbury.ac.nz/ fore214/totara.htm Dacrydium cupressinum Rimu:  Dacrydium cupressinum Rimu www.humpridgejet.com/ jet/gallery/ http://www.btinternet.com/~anthony.goreham/new-zealand/queenstown.html Prumnopitys ferrugineus Miro:  Prumnopitys ferrugineus Miro orongorongo.wellington.net.nz/ miro.htm Mistletoes (Loranthaceae):  Mistletoes (Loranthaceae) Many different mistletoes in the trees of New Zealand’s forests Parasitic plant, often with brightly colored flowers/fruits, dispersed most often by birds. DA Norton and PJ De Lange -- study of host specificity in New Zealand mistletoes. Alepis flavida, Peraxilla colensoi, and P. tetrapetala all found to parasitize mainly on Nothofagus. Other species -- no host specificity. Slide22:  http://www.kiwiartz.co.nz/i/d/280/a429.jpg Sub-Canopy Layer:  Sub-Canopy Layer Small trees and large shrugs below canopy layer Usually nonexistent in drier, thinner soils, maybe some small saplings in canopy gaps. In wetter environments, some small trees in common with podocarp-broadleaf forests, like kamahi, stinkwood (Coprosoma foetidissima), broadleaf (Griselinia littoralis) Blurs with understory at times Griselinia littoralis Broadleaf:  Griselinia littoralis Broadleaf selectree.calpoly.edu/ photos.lasso?KeyValue=679 Understory Layer:  Understory Layer Mostly sapling trees and small shrubs Beech saplings in canopy gaps Shrubs: mingimingis and coprosomas Blurs with sub-canopy at times Not much else, relatively thin understory, open forest Think of Lord of the Rings movies, did they have to hack through brush often? Cyathodes spp. Mingimingis :  Cyathodes spp. Mingimingis y23.50g.com/hauturu7/ Coprosoma Forest Floor:  Forest Floor Color: brightly colored fungi, seasonal orchids Lots of milk moss (Leucobryum candidum), lichens, liverworts, small ferns Some herbs Slide28:  www.thenewzealandsite.com www.mycolog.com www.ffc.canterbury.ac.nz/ cass/rlabact2004.shtml http://www.katikati.co.nz - Mosses and lichens - Corybas orchid in moss - Strawberry fungus Kauri grasses http://www.katikati.co.nz Slide29:  Urtica incisa www.esc.nsw.gov.au LIVERWORT Schistochila appendiculata www.kaimaibush.co.nz Does this sound or look familiar? Leptopteris superba, crape fern Problems Facing the Forests:  Problems Facing the Forests Exotic mammal species – herbivory = reduction of understory layer Log removal reduces useable nutrient pool Earthquakes and resulting landslides Rob Allen “Presentation on Beech Forest Ecology” summary:  Rob Allen “Presentation on Beech Forest Ecology” summary New Zealand is on a major fault line, thusly, it has many earthquakes. Earthquakes and resulting landslides contribute to beech forest disturbance Removal of logs/timber, fallen or standing, removes important nutrients with it. Pests such as pinhole borers and scale insects are also a cause of tree death in beech forests, but they don’t necessarily pose a problem. Herbivory and Understory Reduction:  Herbivory and Understory Reduction The main culprit: DEER All New Zealand mammals are exotic, except 2 species of bats. NZ flora highly vulnerable to herbivory damage No natural predators for grazing mammals Population explosions leading to understory depletion Just one of many examples: Fallow Deer (Dama dama):  Just one of many examples: Fallow Deer (Dama dama) www.texaswildlifeservices.com Deer Herbivory:  Deer Herbivory Study by Sean W. Husheer and Chris M. Frampton – Impacts of Fallow Deer Deer browse beech saplings No significant change in vegetation due to forest stage This will cause problems once canopy gaps open up. Negative effects of forest regeneration Answers to Questions :  Answers to Questions What makes the beech forests of New Zealand unique and worthy of our attention? They are evergreen broadleaf trees, endemic to New Zealand. Where are New Zealand’s beech forests located? The western half of South Island, particularly on the North and South ends, and throughout North Island Answers to Questions:  Answers to Questions What beech species are unique to New Zealand? Black Bech (Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides) Mountain Beech (Nothofagus solandri var. solandri) Red Beech (N. fusca) Hard Beech (N. truncata) Silver Beech (N. menziesii) Answers to Questions:  Answers to Questions What problems do beech forests face today? Herbivory from exotic mammal species (mainly deer) resulting in a reduction of understory and possibly inhibition of regeneration. Log removal = removal of nutrients Landslides from earthquakes Resources :  Resources Books Dawson, J. and Lucas, R. Nature Guide to the New Zealand Forest. Godwit. Random House New Zealand. 2004 Websites (for pictures) http://www.ffc.canterbury.ac.nz/ cass/rlabact2004.shtml http://static.flickr.com/15/20206410_c14edf378b_m.jpg http://www.naturespic.com http://www.nzplantpics.com/ http://www.bushmansfriend.co.nz http://y23.50g.com/hauturu7/ http://www.nzpcn.org.nz http://www.doc.govt.nz http://www.mycolog.com http://www.richardwhite.com.au http://nothofagus.free.fr/originegeographique.htm http://www.deliciousorganics.com/Products/organic_raw_honey.htm http://www.explornz.co.nz/ Discovery.htm Resources Continued…:  Resources Continued… http://www.mountainhouse.co.nz/ tracks.htm http://www.forestlight.co.uk/cgi-bin/gallery.pl?fn=display&photo_no=218 http://orongorongo.wellington.net.nz/ http://www.fore.canterbury.ac.nz/ fore214/totara.htm http://www.btinternet.com/~anthony.goreham/new-zealand/queenstown.html http://www.humpridgejet.com/ jet/gallery/ http://www.kiwiartz.co.nz/i/d/280/a429.jpg http://www.biol.canterbury.ac.nz http://selectree.calpoly.edu/photos.lasso?KeyValue=679 http://www.florarium.net http://www.katikati.co.nz http://www.thenewzealandsite.com http://www.esc.nsw.gov.au http://www.kaimaibush.co.nz http://www.ujf-grenoble.fr http://www.texaswildlifeservices.com Resources Continued:  Resources Continued Allen, Rob. “Summary of presentation on beech forest ecology.” Landcare Research. http://www.fore.canterbury.ac.nz/euan/beech/rallen.htm Husheer, SW & Frampton, CM. “Fallow deer impacts on Wakatipu beech forest.” New Zealand Jounral of Ecology. Vol. 29, No. 1, 2005. 83-94 Norton, DA & De Lange, PJ. “Host Specificity in Parasitic Mistletoes in New Zealand.” Functional Ecology. Vol. 13, No. 4 Aug. 1999 552-559 Poole, AL. “Beeches.” 1966 Encyclopedia of New Zealand. <http://www.teara.govt.nz/1966/B/Beeches/Beeches/en> Stewart, G et. al. “Long tern influences of deer browsing on forest health and conservation values of the Kaweka Range.” WWF – New Zealand. Nov. 1997 Veblen, TT & Stewart GH. “The Effects of Introduced Wild Animals on New Zealand Forests.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 72, No. 3 Sep. 1982. 372-397 Wardle, JA. “The Life History of Mountain Beech.” Proceedings of the New Zealand Ecological Society, Vol. 21, 1974. 21-26

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