Story: Forest succession and regeneration

Regenerating pōhutukawa forest

Regenerating pōhutukawa forest

An unusual type of forest succession occurs on volcanic Rangitoto Island in the Hauraki Gulf, near Auckland. One of the first plants to take hold on the fresh lava is pōhutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa), a large coastal tree. The island was formed about 600 years ago, and pōhutukawa forest now covers about 80% of it. This succession from bare lava directly to forest without any intervening stages is rare in New Zealand. However it does occur on volcanic islands in the Pacific, where Metrosideros shrub and tree species trigger the growth of forests.

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Photograph by Jock Phillips

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How to cite this page:

Maggy Wassilieff, 'Forest succession and regeneration - Forest succession', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/11896/regenerating-pohutukawa-forest (accessed 19 January 2020)

Story by Maggy Wassilieff, published 24 Sep 2007