Conservation ecology of riparian forest within the agricultural landscape: West Coast, New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This study seeks to determine the spatial extent and characteristics of riparian forest on the South Island's West Coast, and to examine the ecological status and condition of riparian forest patches within the West Coast's agricultural landscape. The majority of West Coast riparian forest occurs on south Westland floodplains. Further north these forests were found to comprise <20% of the vegetation cover in 16/27 of the region's Ecological Districts. Today >80 000 ha (53%) of the floodplains are in pasture, and <1% of the farmed areas are in indigenous forest. Remaining forests on the farmed floodplains are comprised of many small patches (mean size 3.7 ± 0.3 ha), with only 13 patches 9 ha.