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Watershed management in New Zealand : status and research needs

Dils, Robert E.
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::050205 Environmental Management , ANZSRC::050302 Land Capability and Soil Degradation , ANZSRC::050304 Soil Chemistry (excl. Carbon Sequestration Science) , ANZSRC::050204 Environmental Impact Assessment , ANZSRC::050202 Conservation and Biodiversity , ANZSRC::079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.) , ANZSRC::050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Nature has endowed New Zealand with unique geologic, climatic, and biotic conditions. Her volcanic cones and majestic Southern Alps and her verdant plains and rolling hills provide a landscape as rugged and beautiful as will be found anywhere. Her indigenous fauna and flora are often quite different from that of the rest of the world and consequently have been of widespread interest to biologists everywhere. Her geologic youth and structure and her island climate, in combination with the biological resources, have made a land which is ecologically on edge. These natural endowments along with the manner in which she has utilized her land, have given New Zealand some of the most spectacular and rapid erosion to be found. It is quite evident that geologic and climatic conditions combine to give unusually high rates of natural erosion. Present topographic features indicate the past occurrence of large-scale flooding as well. Prior to the arrival of the Maori, it is very likely that most of the land mass of New Zealand below present bush lines was covered with indigenous bush or forest. Forest fires of a catastrophic nature undoubtedly occurred as a result of lightning, and volcanic eruptions. The exposed soils left by these catastrophes contributed to natural deterioration. While vast areas of forest cover were destroyed, they probably were healed by nature with forest or with grass or herbaceous cover. Further, it is probable that large areas in the mountains were, as they are now, subject to landslides and slipping due to earthquakes and excessive local rainfall. Again, the healing process was probably rapid in most of such exposed areas.
Source DOI
Copyright © Tussock Grasslands and Mountain Lands Institute.
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