Biodiversity

Forests

Person looking up at a kauri tree
Cascade Kauri, Waitakere Ranges

The Auckland region was once covered in a rich, diverse rainforest.

Massive kauri, towering rimu, rātā, tōtara and kahikatea emerged above leafy canopies of tararie, pūriri and tawa.

The bush teemed with birds including tui, bellbird, kererū, kākā, kōkako, saddleback and piopio. At night, kiwi and kākāpō stalked the forest floor.

Today, due to milling, clearance and disturbance, these forests have been broken into thousands of individual fragments, ranging from less than one hectare to the 17,000 hectares of forest in the Hunua Ranges.

Most existing areas of native forest in the Auckland region (approximately 80 per cent) are small forest fragments of less than 10 hectares, many located on private land.

Bush and forest patches are vital to the survival of our remaining native plants and animals, because they:

  • provide habitat, food, and shelter for our native species
  • are used by birds and other native fauna as ‘stepping stones’ to move between larger forest areas
  • provide a source of native seeds that birds or the wind can disperse across the landscape
  • help reduce flooding and erosion, and improve the water quality of the streams that flow through them
  • may contain native insects that help pollinate nearby crops or control pests
  • can act as windbreaks to shelter stock in nearby paddocks
  • beautify our landscape and provide recreational opportunities
  • contribute to ecological linkages beside wetlands and along streams and coastal areas.

Having a forest fragment on your property can provide many benefits, and is a feature to be treasured.

For information on the ways you can keep your forest fragment healthy, see our caring for forest fragments guide (PDF 614KB).

For advice on restoring native forest, see our native forest restoration guide (PDF 432KB).

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