Waipoua Forest, New Zealand

Waipoua Forest, New Zealand

Waipoua Forest preserves some of the best examples of Kauri forest remaining in New Zealand. It is notable for having two of the largest living kauri trees, Tane Mahuta and Te Matua Ngahere. The forest was declared a sanctuary in 1952. The Waipoua, Warawara and Puketi Forests together contain about three-quarters of New Zealand’s remaining mature kauri trees. The Waipoua forest holds the largest remaining stand of these trees. It contains Te Matua Ngahere, a notable kauri tree that is the largest in New Zealand by girth and the second largest by volume and is estimated to be from 2,000 to 3,000 years old.

The Waipoua Forest Sanctuary and Waipoua Kauri Management and Research Area together form a large (approx. 13 000 ha), continuous protected natural area on the west coast of Northland, New Zealand. This reserve complex contains comparatively unmodified examples of Northland forest including large areas dominated by the tall conifer kauri (Agathis australis). It also includes substantial areas of “heathland” scrub dominated by Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and Dracophyllum lessonianum. Landscape-scale vegetation patterns are described from 294 vegetation samples located in both forest and scrub, and their relationships with the environment are examined using indirect gradient analysis techniques.

Results suggest that vegetation patterns in both forest and scrub are determined largely by topographically linked variation in soil fertility and soil moisture and by altitudinally determined temperature and precipitation gradients. Conifers tend to occur on the infertile soils often found on ridges, whereas broadleaved species, though not excluded from ridge-top sites, dominate on the more fertile lower slopes and in gullies.

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