Impacts of possum browsing on the long-term maintenance of forest biodiversity

Although brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecular) are known to browse many major trees in New Zealand’s conifer/broad-leaved forests, little is known of their long-term effects. We examined long-term (14-25 years) changes in five conifer/broad-leaved rainforests, which have had various histories of possum occupancy and control, and various degrees of mortality of canopy tree species. All five contain species known to be browsed by possums, such as Hall’s totara (Podocarpus hallii), kamahi (Weinmannia racemosa), and southern rata (Metrosideros umbellate). Although extensive dieback of canopy species had occurred in some forests before censuses began, most showed no substantial changes in species composition during the census period.

Author Bellingham, P. J., Wiser, S. K., Hall, G. M. J., Alley, J. C., Allen, R. B. and Suisted, P. A.
Date null
Year 1999
Secondary title Science for Conservation
Volume 103
Publisher Department of Conservation
Pages 10
Notes Notes
ISBN/ISSN 1173-2946 / 0-478-21786-2
Region NZ