Native forest monitoring : tracking changes in native forest remnants.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameBachelor of Forestry Science
Native forest monitoring is undertaken by forest companies as a requirement for certification of their forests by groups such as the FSC. It is important for companies to be able to track changes that are occurring to native forest remnants that are often spread throughout their operational plantation forest estate.
Pan Pac tasked me with completing their 2016 native forest monitoring programme and review the results that have been collected since the programme was implemented in 2002. The objective of this was to both gain a better understanding of how the composition of the remnants in their5 estate is changing and to make recommendations on how the programme could be improved in the future. The majority of the 11 Permanent Sample Plots (PSPs) measured were in good or stable condition, several of which showed strong regeneration of the understory over the past 14 years. Three of the sites have been affected by heavy ungulate browsing (deer and/or goats), which has resulted in the continued suppression of the understory vegetation. While all current canopy layers of the PSP have not changed significantly, current and future disturbance such as ungulate browse could result in a change in composition from the current forest makeup.
Ungulate browsing has been identified as the biggest driver of change in the native forest remnants within Pan Pac’s estate. To further examine to magnitude of this, exclosure plots could be established in impacted remnants to assess the effect of removal of browsing pests as a basis for Pan Pac to make decisions about future ungulate control. Continued monitoring of native forests is key to be able to identify as well as understand what is happening with native forest remnants. Tracking composition change is important as it allows the forest manager to target management practices such as ungulate control to combat non-natural changes that are occurring.