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Coastal ecosystems

Pūnaha kaiao takutai moana

The coasts of New Zealand were once covered in native vegetation. The plant communities included highly salt-tolerant species and hardy ferns, shrubs and trees.

Vegetation and coastal ecosystems

Good vegetation cover on coastal land can help coastal ecosystems by:

  • providing habitats for native birds and animals
  • preventing erosion of soil and sand by wind and water
  • shading out invasive weeds
  • preserving the natural character of our coastal environment.

Coastal forests, clifftops, banks and dunes are some of New Zealand’s most threatened ecosystems.

Coastal forests have been reduced by over 90 per cent, and fewer than 10 per cent of New Zealand’s sand dunes remain unmodified.

Help support and restore coastal ecosystems

Restoring coastal ecosystems requires an ongoing commitment to pest plant management. This helps establish new native plants.

By removing weeds from around plants for two to three years, native plants can grow higher than pest plants and crowd them out.

For planting advice, see our series of coastal planting guides:

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