Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Windblown logging detrimental to forest ecosystems

Windblown logging detrimental to forest ecosystems

Plans to allow removal of windblown trees in West Coast forests will have a detrimental impact on forest health and remove a potential food source for native species including kiwi, says terrestrial ecology senior lecturer at the University of Auckland Margaret Stanley.

Plans to allow removal of windblown trees in West Coast forests will have a detrimental impact on forest health and remove a potential food source for native species including kiwi, says terrestrial ecology senior lecturer at the University of Auckland Margaret Stanley.

Conservation Minister Nick Smith is expected to introduce legislation into Parliament tomorrow to allow windblown logging on the West Coast after large areas of forest were damaged by Cyclone Ita in April this year. It is likely the Bill will be passed under Urgency.

Dr Stanley says while it may seem sensible to allow removal of dead trees, they are a vital part of the forest ecosystem. There is a rich biodiversity of species that live only on forest deadwood and decaying wood in turn acts as a “slow release” fertiliser - the main source of nutrients for new seedlings.

Many native species, from microbes and bacteria to fungi, lichens, reptiles, bats and birds rely on decaying wood on the forest floor.

“Kiwi and many other species eat insects that rely on decaying wood and vegetation so everything is interlinked in a forest ecosystem and removal of windblown trees will affect those linkages and inhibit forest growth,” she says.

Dr Stanley says there is also a significant knowledge gap about the biological importance of decaying wood to native species which in turn has implications for biodiversity.

“Less than half of New Zealand’s approximately 70,000 native species have been scientifically described so there is a question over whether we actually know what we might be losing if we continue to degrade native forest.”

Removing logs could further degrade forests by inadvertently damaging healthy trees as well as increasing the likelihood of disease and weed seeds being introduced by heavy equipment. Dead tree removal is also likely to target larger trees which contribute the most to biodiversity.

The Minister’s proposed law change will focus on the effects of Cyclone Ita but will set a precedent for removing dead wood on conservation land, Dr Stanley says.

While he has assured New Zealanders that no removal will take place within national parks, much of the area proposed for windblown logging is of high conservation value but has not been formally assessed for protection and so remains as ‘stewardship land’.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Sky City : Auckland Convention Centre Cost Jumps By A Fifth

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino and hotel operator, is in talks with the government on how to fund the increased cost of as much as $130 million to build an international convention centre in downtown Auckland, with further gambling concessions ruled out. The Auckland-based company has increased its estimate to build the centre to between $470 million and $530 million as the construction boom across the country drives up building costs and design changes add to the bill.


RMTU: Mediation Between Lyttelton Port And Union Fails

The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. More>>


Science Policy: Callaghan, NSC Funding Knocked In Submissions

Callaghan Innovation, which was last year allocated a budget of $566 million over four years to dish out research and development grants, and the National Science Challenges attracted criticism in submissions on the government’s draft national statement of science investment, with science funding largely seen as too fragmented. More>>


Scoop Business: Spark, Voda And Telstra To Lay New Trans-Tasman Cable

Spark New Zealand and Vodafone, New Zealand’s two dominant telecommunications providers, in partnership with Australian provider Telstra, will spend US$70 million building a trans-Tasman submarine cable to bolster broadband traffic between the neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. More>>



Statistics: Current Account Deficit Widens

New Zealand's annual current account deficit was $6.1 billion (2.6 percent of GDP) for the year ended September 2014. This compares with a deficit of $5.8 billion (2.5 percent of GDP) for the year ended June 2014. More>>


Still In The Red: NZ Govt Shunts Out Surplus To 2016

The New Zealand government has pushed out its targeted return to surplus for a year as falling dairy prices and a low inflation environment has kept a lid on its rising tax take, but is still dangling a possible tax cut in 2017, the next election year and promising to try and achieve the surplus pledge on which it campaigned for election in September. More>>


Job Insecurity: Time For Jobs That Count In The Meat Industry

“Meat Workers face it all”, says Graham Cooke, Meat Workers Union National Secretary. “Seasonal work, dangerous jobs, casual and zero hours contracts, and increasing pressure on workers to join non-union individual agreements. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news