Ecology and long-term history of fire in New Zealand

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Show simple item record Perry, GLW en Wilmshurst, JM en McGlone, MS en 2015-05-15T04:43:16Z en 2015-05-15T04:43:16Z en 2014 en
dc.identifier.citation New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 2014, 38 (2), pp. 157 - 176 en
dc.identifier.issn 0110-6465 en
dc.identifier.other 1177-7788 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract Fire is a complex physical and ecological process and one that has dramatically affected NewZealand’s landscapes and ecosystems in the post-settlement era. Prior to human settlement in the late 13th century, the Holocene palaeoenvironmental record suggests that fie frequencies were low across most of New Zealand, with the notable exception of some wetland systems. Because few of New Zealand’s indigenous plant species show any real adaptation to fie, the greatly increased fie activity that accompanied human settlement resulted in widespread, and in some cases permanent, shifts in the composition, structure and function of many terrestrial ecosystems. The combined effects of Maori and European fie have left long-lasting legacies in New Zealand’s landscapes with the most obvious being the reduction of forest cover from 85–90% to 25% of the land area. Here we review the long-term ecological history of fie in New Zealand’s terrestrial ecosystems and describe what is known about the fie ecology of New Zealand’s plant species and communities, highlighting key uncertainties and areas where future research is required. While considerable emphasis has been placed on describing and understanding the ‘initial burning period’ that accompanied Maori arrival, much less ecological emphasis has been placed on the shifts in fie regime that occurred during the European period, despite the signifiant effects these had. Post-fie successional trajectories have been described for a number of wetland and forest communities in New Zealand, but in contemporary landscapes are complicated by the effects of exotic mammalian species that act as seed and seedling predators and herbivores, reduced pollination and dispersal services due to declines in the avifauna, and the presence of pyrophyllic exotic plant species. Many invasive plant species (e.g. Pinus spp., Acacia spp., Hakea spp., Ulex europaeus) are favoured by fie and now co-occur with indigenous plant species in communities whose long-term composition and trajectory are unclear. On the other hand, some highly-valued ecosystems such as tussock grasslands may require recurrent fie for their long-term persistence. Combined, the direct and indirect effects of the introduction of anthropic fie to New Zealand may have shifted large areas into successional ‘traps’ from which, in the face of recurrent fie, escape is diffiult. Developing appropriate management strategies in such a context requires a nuanced understanding of the place of fie in New Zealand’s ecosystems. en
dc.relation.ispartofseries New Zealand Journal of Ecology en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Details obtained from en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.title Ecology and long-term history of fire in New Zealand en
dc.type Journal Article en
pubs.issue 2 en
pubs.begin-page 157 en
pubs.volume 38 en en
pubs.end-page 176 en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.subtype Article en
pubs.elements-id 470690 en Faculty of Science en School of Environment en

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