Post-fire vegetation recovery in northern New Zealand. Potential contributions of soil seedbanks, effects of heat shock and soil conditions

Alicia Wong 
Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
Publication date:

Forest fires were rare in New Zealand prior to human arrival. Because of this, most native plants lack fire-adaptive traits, often resulting in complete destruction of native forest and scrub following a fire.

Increased fire frequencies associated with human settlement in New Zealand (c. 1280 AD) has driven widespread forest loss, fragmentation, and altered community composition and structure.

On the other hand, certain invasive exotic fire-loving (‘pyrophilic’) species found in the Auckland region, such as Hakea sericea, Pinus spp., Paraserianthes lophantha, and Ulex europaeus have greatly benefited from increased fires; due to adaptations that enable them to thrive in post-fire conditions.

Four post-fire study sites were chosen at Karakare (Waitākere Ranges), Cornwallis (Waitākere Ranges), Claris (Great Barrier Island), and William Upton Hewett Reserve (Titoki). All these sites experienced accidental fires between 2013 and 2014.

The ecosystems at the four sites were a mixture of lowland coastal-broadleaf and podocarp-broadleaf forest, shrubland, duneland, and wilding pines.

RIMU masters student research summary

MSc thesis, University of Auckland

Post-fire vegetation recovery in northern New Zealand: potential contributions of soil seedbanks, effects of heat shock, and soil conditions

Last updated: 2018-08-20