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New Zealand wide eco seed-sourcing register.  


"...is a pragmatic approach to creating community effectiveness in restoring the natural character of our most threatened terrestrial ecosystems..." P. Lawless.

STRAND TWO delivers a New Zealand-wide elite eco seed-sourcing register by 2011, provided funding requirements are met.

The project (SFF 06/047) developed capacity to identify and document elite stands of native trees that provide our seed sources for the future.

Many regional scale STRAND TWO projects will be associated with specific indigenous afforestation proposals. Advocating the value of remaining elite stands as seed-sources for efficient, bio-diverse ecosystem restoration and high quality indigenous timber trees is another important outcome of any STRAND TWO project.

EXPLANATION: Some trees are just made better than others; straighter, stronger more beautiful. Such trees are recognised by foresters as elite trees to be protected as the genetic capital of future timber production. In traditional Maori culture these fathers of the forest were protected by rahui that prevented their harvest.

STRAND TWO sets out to document the location of these stands, to recognise their relative importance for indigenous afforestation projects, to negotiate their protection. It does this by documenting eco-source seed stand locations for indigenous afforestation projects throughout New Zealand. Compared to random seed gathering, or even individual elite trees, elite stands can provide better propagation material and avoid risks associated with reducing a species genetic diversity. Many sites retain trees with elite characteristics, some sites retain elite trees and a few retain stands of elite trees. An environment's best sites are identified using: databases; reports, references, remote sensing and rapid assessment.

Potential elite stands are assessed using 20 timber tree parameters and characteristics. Parameters are either measured or assessed in a ranking system. Each ranking is defined as a variable relevant to a given species' growth characteristics. Elite variables are generally applicable across species but vary in relative importance between tree species. Some are genetically pre-determined (genotypes) others may to some extent be influenced by the environment (phenotypes). In combination, elite variables distinguish elite trees that retain genetic vitality, desirable growth characteristics and are also well adapted to their environment.

STRAND TWO will deliver data from relevant environments and a New Zealand-wide register of elite timber trees and stands. This will support and generate momentum for indigenous afforestation projects throughout New Zealand.

As elite stands are recognised, their protection can be negotiated and agreed. Indigenous afforestation project plans will be negotiated, designed and use of appropriate eco-seed-sources will be registered. Major benefits for indigenous biodiversity include: increased habitat area; reliable pest control commitment by land owners; improved connectivity amongst remnants in 'at risk' and 'threatened environments', reversal of historical biodiversity loss as a result of "high-grading" - cutting the best and leaving the rest.


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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.