A 2000 year history of vegetation and landscape change in Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Sediment cores from four lakes in the Tutira and Putere districts of Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand, are analysed for the remains of pollen, charcoal, tephra and erosion pulses to reconstruct a 2000 year history of vegetation and landscape change. The Hawke's Bay region is disturbed frequently by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclonic storms, droughts and fire. This thesis determines how the vegetation and soil stability have responded to some of these disturbances, through detailed palaeoecological investigations of lake sediment cores. Studies of surface pollen and differential pollen and spore preservation were undertaken to enhance the interpretations made from the palaeoecological record. Because New Zealand has only been settled by Polynesians relatively recently, the effects of natural disturbance on the vegetation and landscape can be assessed under similar climatic conditions to the present, but in the absence of cultural change. The effects of human settlement on a previously uninhabited landscape are assessed and compared with previously occurring natural disturbances.