Mānuka shrublands are common throughout New Zealand on farmland that is reverting to forest. These shrublands are an early stage of forest regeneration. Kānuka (Kunzea ericoides) – a related plant of similar appearance – often grows in association with mānuka. It is longer-lived and taller, eventually overtopping the mānuka to form kānuka forest.
Areas of mānuka and kānuka cover some 3 million hectares and provide a valuable habitat for native plants, animals and fungi. They are also the mainstay of the native honey industry. In much of New Zealand’s steep hill country they protect the land against erosion after heavy rains.
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