2nd Annual Geoff Baylis Lecture. Distinguished Guest speaker Dr Peter Wardle

Wednesday 29th of October 2003, 05:20 PM (17 years ago)

Contact: Ian Radford | ian.radford@botany.otago.ac.nz | (03) 479 9065

New Zealand's forest limits and the vegetation above them, compared with South America and other regions.

Species introductions and climatic comparisons show that hardy trees from the northern hemisphere can grow well above the altitudinal limit of native forest in New Zealand. Instead of the subalpine conifer forests of the northern hemisphere we have a belt of tall tussocks, shrubs and large forbs, occupying an environment very similar to that occupied by deciduous beeches in the southern Andes. While this tall-tussock belt is essentially unique to New Zealand and its subantarctic islands, it does share features with vegetation on tropical high mountains. As well as large tussock grasses, these features include temperature climates with muted seasonal variations, and large-leaved rosette plants, some of the tropical examples being arborescent. On the tropical high mountains, this vegetation zone also contains low forest which has been reduced by fire, and as in New Zealand it is receptive to introduced tall-tree species. The term tropicalpine has been used because this vegetation does not fit the altitudinal zonation that has been derived for north temperate mountains; to recognise the similarly special nature of New Zealand vegetation lying between the upper forest limit and typical alpine vegetation, I have proposed the term penalpine.

Peter Wardle is one of New Zealand's foremost plant ecologists with an unrivalled knowledge of how New Zealand's vegetation, environment and ecological processes compare with the rest of the world. His highly regarded book, Vegetation of New Zealand, covers succession, invasion, disturbance, regeneration and many other complex processes. The book is dedicated to Professor Geoff Baylis, whose contribution to botany is honoured in this lecture series.

Seminar room 2.25 Commerce Building, cnr Union St East and Clyde St. Meet in the atrium for nibbles and drinks (gold coin donation). You are invited to join Peter for dinner after. Please email Trish Flemming if you would like to attend the dinner at Indian Summer, Upper Moray Place.