Restoring the life to native forest remnants

Forest Remnants Heading

“All types of forests embody complex and unique ecological processes [and] provide resources to satisfy human needs as well as environmental values and…their sound management and conservation… are of value to local communities and to the environment as a whole.”

Preamble to the Statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests, United Nations Earth Summit, 1992.


Patches of native forest on farm land will have richer ecosystems thanks to the University of Waikato’s Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research.

The centre began a 28-month, $1.12 million project in 2007 to look at methods to restore the biodiversity of native forest fragments in rural areas, in partnership with Landcare Research NZ Ltd.

The work means indigenous forest remnants will be more effectively managed in the future, and it will contribute to integrated, biodiversity restoration both in the Waikato and nationally.

Staff will examine traditional indigenous forest management techniques, including the effectiveness of fencing, possum and rat control and revegetation. The collaborative research team also includes scientists from the University of Canterbury and AgResearch Ltd.

The research team will focus on a range of ecological processes such as the regeneration of ground and canopy plants, the decomposition of forest litter and the ability of native birds to reproduce successfully.

Professor Bruce Clarkson, ecologist and director of the University’s centre, says the project fills a critical gap between existing major research programmes in large conservation estate forests, and severely depleted and modified urban remnants. It’s the first time the ecosystem processes in those patches of farmland forest have been looked at in this way.

External funding gratefully acknowledged: Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.


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