Pikiariki ecological area : its patterns, processes and management
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameBachelor of Forestry Science
Pikiariki Ecoloqical Area is a dense podocarp forest remnant of the West Taupo lowland forest tract. Its forest supports one of New Zealand's more diverse and dense bird populations. Of significance among these birds is the kokako, one of the two surviving species of the endemic family Callaeatidae and now classified as 'vulnerable'. Neither the forest nor the birdlife are stable within Pikiariki. Selection logging has left parts of the reserve wind-prone and its shape and size do not conform with that suggested as best according to island biogeography theory. The problem of instability is aggravated by maninduced hazards: notably predators and browsing mammals. Rats and stoats pose a serious threat to kokako and other birds, while deer and possums compete for foods essential in the diet of the kokako. Recently kokako have shown poor reproductive success and this may largely be attributed to predation; however a lowering of the plane of nutrition may also be important. Management will primarily look to preserving the kokako in Pikiariki but must also ensure that water values are protected. Recreation is of a small and specialised nature which can be accommodated with careful zoning and constraints. The ecology of the forest and its animals must be considered in management. It is clear that eradication of noxious animals is impractical but locally control may be feasible. The effectiveness of control measures is largely unproven, however, and control operations must be closely monitored. For long term stability artificial re-establishment of indigenous flora is desirable.
- Science: Reports