An assessment of changes in Kunzea ericoides var. microflora and other hydrothermal vegetation at the Wairakei–Tauhara Geothermal Field, New Zealand

van Manen, Saskia M. and Reeves, Robert (2012). An assessment of changes in Kunzea ericoides var. microflora and other hydrothermal vegetation at the Wairakei–Tauhara Geothermal Field, New Zealand. Environmental Management, 50(4) pp. 766–786.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-012-9899-1

Abstract

Hydrothermal ecosystems are of high conservation and scientific value, but they are sensitive to external perturbations that result from development. This study examines the composition of vegetation at four plots at the Wairakei–Tauhara geothermal field, New Zealand, using the Scott height-frequency method, ground temperatures at 0.1- and 1-m depth, soil pH, and photographic surveys. It highlights the response of plant communities, in particular that of Kunzea ericoides var. microflora, in terms of composition, structure, and biomass index values, measures changes in ground temperature, as well as provides baseline data against which to compare future changes. It was found that optimal growing conditions for K ericoides var. microflora are at temperatures above background conditions with a slightly acidic pH. Plots with cooler, less acidic conditions support more diverse plant communities, which also promote the establishment of invasive species. This suggests that the largest threats to thermotolerant vegetation in New Zealand, including K. ericoides var. microflora, are further decreases in ground temperature because the establishment of invasive species may result in thermolerant vegetation being out-competed in hydrothermal ecosystems. Recognising and understanding the ecological diversity and dynamics of hydrothermal ecosystems, as well as acknowledging the competing interests between development and conservation, is key to the management and protection of these areas.

Viewing alternatives

Metrics

Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions

Export

About

Recommendations