Vegetation classification of an area on coal measures, Buller, New Zealand.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameBachelor of Science with Honours
The plant communites of a coastal hillslope, Buller, were classified on the basis of floristic presence/absence of 138 species. Six forest communites were identified from 75 descriptions on a forest remnant on tertiary Brunner coal measure parent material and 17 from a comparative area on upper cambrian Greenland greywacke. Community distribution was not affected by differences in underlying parent material. Forest community distribution related to elevational gradients, landform type, slope and aspect. Compositional changes were gradual with the most distinctive separation between steep, low altitude hard beech (Nothofagus truncata) dominated communities and low sloping montane to subalpine mountain beech (Nothofagus solandri var cliffortioides) dominated groups. This study encompasses an area of much broader elevational and floristic range, under higher rainfall and extremely acidic soils, than previous coal measure vegetation classification studies have documented. Lowland communities in this study differed from those previously identified in the Ngakawau Ecological District. Preservation of this diverse, complex coastal hillslope forest system is recommended.