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Moutere Ecological District – Northern Sector


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These areas make up 43% of the remaining forest and/or woodland, 85% of the remaining upper salt marsh, and 71% of the remaining freshwater wetlands in the northern part of the ecological district. This report provides an ecological summary of the Significant Native Habitats (SNHs) in the northern half of the Moutere Ecological District from information recorded by natural area surveys under the Tasman District Council's Significant Natural Habitats Program. For the ecological district as a whole, a description of the original and contemporary vegetation is also given.

Resource Management Act 1991 section 6(c) obligations, district plan

Native Habitats Tasman programme

Why an ecological district report?

Prior reports

Parks and Walls (1978) mapped and gave a numerical estimate of ecological value for all tall alluvial and alluvial terrace forest stands in the then Nelson–Marlborough region, and significant sites are listed in their report. Walls (1985) examined the native forest remnants of the Moutere Gravels north of the Buller River and assessed them for relative ecological value. Walker (1987) identified all areas of at least potential ecological value in the then Nelson region and listed them as outstanding, high value or moderate.

Survey and

  • Identification of potential Significant Natural Habitats
  • Landowner contact
  • Site survey method
  • Assessment framework and significance criteria
  • Reporting procedure
  • Data storage protocols
  • Survey period

A species checklist was completed at the end of the visit, where species abundance was noted. A set of criteria has been developed for the Tasman District Council for assessing ecological significance as part of the Tasman Native Habitats Council programme. Resilience: The extent of threats, the inherent fragility and/or resilience of communities, and the degree of resilience inherent in the size, shape, connectivity and protection of the site.

Ecological District Description

  • Location
  • Geology and landform
  • Altitude and climate
  • Original indigenous ecosystems
  • Present-day ecosystems
  • Extent of ecosystem depletion
  • Extent, size and general
  • Land Environments present within the Moutere Ecological District (and

The lower Motueka Valley forms much of the western boundary of the Moutere Ecological District. The northern sector of the Moutere Ecological District is largely defined by the Moutere Gravel which, as a landform, is known as the Moutere Depression (Figure 2). The northern sector of the ecological district ranges from sea level in the north to 582 m above sea level in the southeast.

In a reference to the coastal slopes and valleys of the Moutere Gravels being converted to apple in the early 1900s, Colonist [Volume LV, Issue 13698, 14 April 1913]. Six of the 20 nationally occurring LENZ Level 1 sites are present within the northern sector of the Moutere ecological district.

Significant Native Habitats (SNHs)

Landowner and survey details of Significant Native Habitats

2 Some sites spanning property boundaries were surveyed as one SNH; others were examined by title forming two or more SNHs.


  • Vegetation
    • Indigenous vegetation represented within Significant
  • Flora
    • Overview
    • Rare flora
    • Other species with interesting distributions and distribution limits
    • Large trees
  • Fauna
    • Indigenous bird and other animal species present within Significant
    • Faunal habitat within Significant Native Habitats
  • Other ecological values
    • Connectivity and buffering
    • Ecosystem services

This community is the most common alluvial forest type in the northern part of the Moutere Ecological District. A site in the northeastern part of the ecological district is unique in supporting a small stand of tawa-dominated forest on a colluvial fan. White maire and narrow-leaved maire were both likely to be naturally scarce in the ecological district.

White Maire is almost entirely confined to the Moutere River catchment in the ecological district. Ruakawa edgerleyi has been reported (Nelson Botanical Society) from an SNH in the Orinoco watershed. The braided fern Gleichenia microphylla was observed in an equally poor wetland area in the Moutere Valley.

Tarata is also quite rare in the Moutere River catchment in the north, but increasingly common towards the south. Drought intolerant species such as kidney fern were recorded only in the southwest of the study area. Additionally, koaro have been recorded from Supplejack Stream in the north of the district in the most recent surveys.

The only lizard species known to be present in the ecological district is the common skink (Rogers, 2009). Inanga habitat is rare in the ecological district which is limited to areas of ungrazed tall fescue. The other obvious group of hillslope forests lies in the heads of the Moutere and Redwood valleys.

Threats to Significant Native Habitats

Plant pests

Pest invasion in the northern sector of the ecological district is unrelenting, with no species of concern near their distribution limit. It is significantly more abundant than in the late 1970s when Geoff Walls undertook his forest surveys of the Moutere gravels (pers. comm.). In the worst case, some forest sites are heavily draped in the vine, at least partially and mature trees succumb to resulting light starvation and wind gusts.

Most of these are in the basin of the Moutere River, with outliers at Hiwipango (the most inland location, far from known plagues) and along the coastal fringe. Among the trees and shrubs, barberry and hawthorn are the most common, present in most forest areas. Blackthorn forms a thicket along the edges of an SNH, the only location known to the surveyor in the region.

The male fern has only been observed at three sites, but it appears to be spreading widely in the region. Tasman-Nelson Regional Pest Management Strategy for Tasman District Council, 2012, p. 115 ff) shows the following weeds in the northern sector of the ecological district under 'Pests for total control': African feather grass, boxwood, creeper, egeria, carob, saffron thistle, Senegal tea; Progressive pest control: Bone spur, scarlet thistle and spotted thistle. Many others pose a major threat if their ranges expand into SNH, especially vines and marsh plants.

Biocontrol has been tested in the region for broom, gorse, budhleia and elder's beard, but only budhleia is (reportedly) effective at this stage.

Animal Pests

Other Threats

Black beech decline is also widespread across much of the northern sector of the Ecological District, which is due in part to lowered water tables, but due to its more widespread nature, may be related to recent droughts and disease. It is rare in all but one of the 30 or so SNHs (forests and wetlands) in which it occurs. Losses from fire have likely been an ever-present threat until recent decades, due to the practice of burning down hills on slopes common until the 1970s, and due to the lack of proper aerial firefighting technology.

Due to the highly fragmented nature and small size of many of the remaining SNHs, populations of some plant species and less mobile animal species are susceptible to local extinction. Only a c40ha area of ​​natural forest in the study area documented in the 1980s (Walls 1985) has now been lost, a presumed loss of the beech chip sport market that was closed by legislation in the early 1990s. A public footbridge has been proposed for the western embankments of Waimea Inlet between the Rabbit Island road and Mapua.

Due to the hilly nature of the land adjacent to the fjord, this will likely be forced to run along the edges of the salt marsh. The biggest threat of all to SNHs in the medium to long term is climate change and the ongoing rise in sea levels, now 'locked in' for decades due to increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere that began to rise at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Near-consensus predictions among the international climate science community project a rise of 45–82 cm by the end of the century under current emission trajectories and a rise of 2.6–4.8 oC in mean air temperature (IPCC, 2013).

Modeling of the likely impacts of warming in New Zealand this century suggests some biome compositional changes, but surprisingly little distributional change (McGlone & Walker, 2011).

Management of

  • Management issues
  • Priorities for Management of SNHs
  • Existing Management Initiatives
  • Future Opportunities

It is clear from the surveys what the main weed species are in the ecoregion within the SNHs and these are described in the threats section. Banana passion fruit occurs sporadically in the Moutere River catchment and middle and upper Wai-iti catchment eco-district. This is perhaps the most important immediate conservation management issue in the northern sector of the ecological district.

It is by far the largest piece of land with extensive native forest remnants in the top of the . In the northern sector of the ecological district, the smaller pests (rodents, mustelids, wild cats and hedgehogs) are controlled to a very limited extent, at least in some way. The research has identified SNHs that are likely to be the best examples in the northern sector of their type Ecological District (not all sites were surveyed with a survey participation of c70% by landowners).

Old man's beard at the largest alluvial forest remnant in the ecological district is rampant and requires a major work program to bring under control. Trapping programs are in place at one 60 ha forest SNH – targeting bagasse, rats and mustard and around one salt marsh SNH in the Moutere Ecological District section of the Waimea Inlet – targeting stoats. Narrow-leaved mare has been planted in a number of SNHs to help ensure its future in the ecological district.

A mistletoe propagation workshop was organized in 2006 in the Dove Valley for the interested public.

Protection of

Existing protection

The relatively low figure for forest/treeland is as much due to the presence of 650 ha of forested conservation land that falls outside the scope of the survey, as to the degree of landowner participation. The level of protection of remaining forest/woodland SNHs is 19.8%, for freshwater wetlands 17.7% and for salt marsh 0% (which is almost entirely 'general marine and coastal area'). 3 excluding glasswort meadow under upper salt marsh areas; all areas of upper salt marsh are considered significant, but small fragments were not surveyed for assessment.

Since the NHT survey began in October 2008, there have been 12 approved or registered SNH QEII agreements since they were surveyed (at the time of writing).

Priorities for protection

Biodiversity Monitoring

Future monitoring

Monitoring of SNHs is important to measure and record changes in native biodiversity and to assess the effectiveness of management activities and Council policies. Monitoring of selected SNHs is necessary but will depend on resources and the primary requirements of the Native Habitats Tasman survey. Ideally, monitoring would be carried out by a small team to achieve consistency with landowner participation.

2010) Conservation Status of New Zealand Freshwater Fish Derivation of Vegetation Mapping Units for an Ecological Survey of Tongariro National Park, North Island, New Zealand. IPCC (2013) Working Group I contribution to the IPCC's fifth assessment report (AR5), climate change 2013: the physical science basis – final draft underlying scientific-technical assessment. Potential impacts of climate change on NZ's terrestrial biodiversity and policy recommendations, Science for Conservation No. Miskelly, CM., Dowding, JE., Elliott.

Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd, Lower Hutt. 2009) TDC State of the Environment Report: Estuaries of the Tasman District.

Further reading

Appendix 1

Names of Species Cited Flora

Blechnum chambersii Blechnum colensoi Blechnum vulcanicum Lastreopsis glabella Lastreopsis hispida Lastreopsis microsora Leptolepia novae-zelandiae Leptopteris hymenophylloides Pteris tremula. toms op het Zuidereiland; miromiro Petroica macrocephala macrocephala zuidelijke mantelmeeuw; karoro Larus Dominicaanse Dominicaanse


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