Vegetation recovery following the 2015 Flock Hill fire, Canterbury high country.
Thesis DisciplineBiological Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This study presents the results of the investigation into the vegetation recovery following the 2015 fire at Flock Hill Station.
In 2015 a large fire burnt an area of approximately 300 hectares at Flock Hill Station. This area was largely dominated by the invasive wilding conifer Pinus contorta and exotic pasture grasses such as Agrostis capillaris and Anthoxanthum odoratum. The fire also burnt areas of native shrubland, consisting largely of Leptospermum scoparium and Discaria toumatou, and mountain beech forest (Fuscospora cliffortioides).
The strongest post-fire recovery was shown by exotic pasture grasses and herbaceous weeds. The native vegetation showed very little recovery following the fire. Discaria toumatou was the only native woody species to show an ability to re-sprout following fire whilst Viola cunninghamii and Wahlenbergia albomarginata showed the highest levels of recovery of native herbaceous species.
Pinus contorta showed very little ability to recover following the fire. Pinus contorta showed very little germination after the fire and tests carried out on seeds extracted from burnt cones showed very low viability.
This research could have important implications for future wilding pine control and also for the management of native vegetation in the Canterbury high country as the risk of fire increases in this area with climate change.