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Title: Forest Instability and Canopy Tree Mortality in Westland, New Zealand 
Author: Stewart, Glenn H; Veblen, Thomas T
Date: 1983-10
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Stewart GH, Veblen TT. 1983. Forest instability and canopy tree mortality in Westland, New Zealand. Pac Sci 37(4): 427-431.
Abstract: Many researchers in New Zealand have accepted equilibrium
models of vegetation change that assume within-stand self-replacement of the
dominant tree species as the norm. Consequently, many discontinuous stand
structures have been used as evidence of forest instability. For example, the
patterns of regeneration and mortality in the rata-kamahi forests of Westland
have led many to believe that the present canopy tree mortality is excessive.
As a result, there has been considerable research on browsing by the introduced
brush-tailed possum as the primary cause of the mortality. We suggest that
any interpretation of this forest pattern must include a consideration of the
influences on the vegetation of natural disturbances. Abundant evidence
suggests that at least some of the mortality is due to senescence of cohorts of
trees that originated at approximately the same time after events such as
windthrow and mass movements. It may be that browsing by possums hastens
the death of trees already susceptible as a result of natural stand development
processes.
ISSN: 0030-8870
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/743

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