Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Impacts on vegetation

Preserved pollen and spores are extracted from peat or sediment cores, counted under a microscope, and used to discover what plants were growing on the landscape in the past. If charcoal is counted from the same depths that pollen has also been analysed, not only can we detect when fires occurred, but what happened to the vegetation afterwards. Additionally, radiocarbon dating can be used to reveal when the fire occurred, and how long it took for the vegetation to recover.


  • Forsyth DM, Wilmshurst JM, Allen RB, Coomes DA 2010. Impacts of introduced deer and extinct moa on New Zealand ecosystems. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 34(1): 48-65.
  • McGlone M, Wilmshurst J, Meurk C 2007. Climate, fire, farming and the recent vegetation history of subantarctic Campbell Island. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 98: 71-84.
  • Wilmshurst JM, McGlone MS, Leathwick JR, Newnham RM 2007. A pre-deforestation pollen-climate calibration model for New Zealand and quantitative temperature reconstructions for the past 18 000 years BP. Journal of quaternary science 22(5): 535-547.
  • McGlone MS, Turney CSM, Wilmshurst JM 2004. Late-glacial and Holocene vegetation and climatic history of the Cass basin, central South Island, New Zealand. Quaternary research 62(3): 267-279.
  • Wilmshurst JM, Higham TFG, Allen H, Johns D, Phillips C 2004. Early Maori settlement impacts in northern coastal Taranaki, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 28(2): 167-179.
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