European farming methods transformed the vegetation of New Zealand. Much of the North Island’s forest and fernlands have been replaced by non-native grasses and legumes. In the South Island, burning and grazing created the tussock grasslands that varied in type according to altitude, rainfall and soil. These were later transformed by cultivation, or modified by oversowing with non-native grasses and clovers.
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Source: Alan Mark and Bruce McLennan, 'The conservation status of New Zealand’s indigenous grasslands.' University of Otago School of Business (last accessed 3 June 2008)