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A pilot inventory of elite indigenous timber-tree seed-sources for indigenous afforestation & silviculture from lowland environmental domains.  




The project team adopted and trialled a generic method of 20 measurable elite timber-tree parameters and characteristics from overseas, where parameters are either measured or assessed as 1 of 5 categories.  Each category is defined as a measurable variable, relative to a species’ growth characteristics.  Elite trees of any species must be assessed within categories one to three for all variables.  

A survey of key stakeholders (milestone 3) and analysis of species and environment specific data (milestone 5) incorporates indigenous species’ characteristics, thus adapting the generic method to New Zealand conditions. By the end of October 06 the team had developed and fine-tuned field-survey methods to ensure efficient and effective data capture.

The project team met and consulted with local experts and key-staff to incorporate local knowledge by early November 2006.  Subsequent identification and measurement of elite stands of indigenous timber-trees provided confidence of having developed an effective, accurate and efficient method to deliver stand locations of eco seed-sources for economic indigenous afforestation projects throughout New Zealand (see below).

Compared to individual elite trees, elite stands can provide better propagation material and avoid risks associated with contracting a species’ genetic diversity.  Ranking an environment’s best sites, then measuring its elite trees / stands’ key variables efficiently delivers robust data and facilitates informed decision making.

The team completed the register for Environment B 1.2 late November 06 and part of Environment H 1.1 by January 06.  The elite seed-sourcing project’s data analyses of tree measurements and characteristics delivered mapped and graphed information on elite species attributes and elite stand locations relative to their environments.

In the coastal Moutere environment (B 1.2), a number of trees retain some elite characteristics, yet elite trees (those that retain elite characteristics for all parameters) were far and few and no elite stands remain.  The (H1.1) Kahurangi environment's surveyed forests retain elite trees and some stands of most assessed species. 

The project team is very satisfied with the results, which meet our expectation in terms of delivering an efficient and robust method and a sound basis for its recommendation to the group to conduct a New Zealand-wide register of elite indigenous eco seed-sources.  Progressive tree nurseries in both, North and South Island anticipate results to organise eco-sourced propagation of elite indigenous trees for the growth-market of sustainability capital. The New Zealand-wide elite eco seed-sourcing project comprises one of five intertwined strands that will support the sustainable development of indigenous timber-tree afforestation projects throughout New Zealand.


Where elite seeds are used instead of any accessible seed source (as is commonly the case), efficiency gains can be made from substantial reductions in:
  • planting density (up to 90 % fewer seedlings / ha)
  • initial and long-term silvicultural maintenance requirements;

to achieve the realistic objective of 60-100 veneer quality trees per hectare. 


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Puriri regeneration

Vigorous Puriri saplings (Vitex lucens), competing for a canopy gap, regenerating and synergising a forest ecosystem.  Inspected by John Crawford of the Far North.