Research by Parker Conservation in South Island forests. Read the Radio NZ article here (posted on 17 December 2018). Audio from Our Changing World.
New Zealand’s plantation forests provide benefits for many environmental services and processes such as clean water bodies and streams, erosion protection, storing carbon, and flood abatement as well as social benefits such as recreation. The plantation forest estate’s contribution to New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity is one benefit that is often overlooked or hard to measure.
Rare and threatened species don’t just live in indigenous forests
Many of New Zealand’s threatened species find favourable habitats in or adjacent to exotic plantation forests. Some may utilise plantation trees on a full-time basis including kiwi, falcon (karearea), Hochstetter’s frogs, and long-tailed bats. Other threatened species often utilise plantation forests to supplement food supplies but remain reliant on adjacent natural forest (e.g. kaka, kea, kakariki, and kereru). In either case, plantation forests provide key habitats for these species and, with careful management, contribute to their continued survival.
Within the plantation forest estate alone there could be as much as 200,000 hectares of indigenous forest remnants, riparian strips, watercourses and wetland. Many of New Zealand’s threatened species find favourable habitats in or adjacent to plantation forests.