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Information sources on native tree species

David Bergin, New Zealand Tree Grower November 2005.

There is a large number of publications and information sources for those wanting to establish native plants, or for those embarking on management of their patch of native forest. Ensis, formerly Forest Research, have produced three publications in the new series New Zealand Indigenous Tree Bulletins.

The first two are on establishment growth and management of totara and kauri, and the third covers general planting and early management of planted native trees. These books, produced in full colour, are available free to members of Tane’s Tree Trust, or they can be purchased from the Trust or from Scion.

Totara – Establishment, growth, and management

This book describes past use, current distribution, and useful characteristics of the species. Totara has a wide range of features that deserve special consideration including cultural and heritage values, timber durability in heartwood, superior machining qualities, and an extensive natural distribution range. There are guidelines based on research, and management on practical aspects of raising seedlings, planting on a range of sites, weed control and long-term management for those who want to establish native forest for timber production, as well as for other environmental and cultural benefits.

Kauri – Ecology, establishment, growth, and management

This book gives an overview of the mode of growth, distribution, history, and ecology of kauri. It provides up-to-date information for anyone wishing to plant individual trees or stands, and to manage kauri plantations for timber production, conservation, and amenity.

Native trees – Planting and early management for wood production

The third book examines the range of objectives and the site types where the planting of native tree species can be appropriate in our productive landscapes. Sections discuss the practical options for establishing native trees and matching species to site. Characteristics of the major native conifer and hardwood timber species are reviewed, including their wood properties and planting potential. Guidelines for planting and early management are presented, along with several scenarios suggesting various combinations of plant spacing and use of nurse crops.

Selection of other books

There is a range of excellent reference publications and guidelines on the planting of native species that have been published over the last couple of decades. These are widely available and a selection of them is listed below. Native plant restoration or revegetation manuals provide detailed comprehensive information on native species to plant and guidelines on planting techniques. A number of What’s New in Forest Research articles give general information on early research with the planting of natives and there is a bulletin on the mid-1980s survey of native plantations undertaken by the former Forest Research Institute, all of which are available from the publications section at Scion.

The Ministry of Forestry publication on sustainable management of indigenous forest has a section on native plantations, as does the recently published forestry handbook by the New Zealand Institute of Forestry. There is significant interest in planting of beech, especially from landowners in southern regions, and Wardle provides a very comprehensive account on the ecology, management and use of all the beech species. From a wood perspective, and building on the early work of Hinds and Reid, Clifton provides a readable account of the millable timber species in New Zealand, with a detailed coverage of each of the major indigenous species from wood characteristics to distribution,
growth and uses.


Bergin, D.O. 2003: Totara – establishment, growth and management. New Zealand Indigenous Tree Bulletin No. 1. Forest Research.
Bergin, D.O., & Gea, L. 2005: Native trees – planting and early management for wood production. New Zealand Indigenous Tree Bulletin No. 3. Forest Research.
Bergin, D.O., & Steward, G.S. 2004: Kauri – ecology, establishment, growth and management. New Zealand Indigenous Tree Bulletin No. 3. Forest Research.
Clifton, N.C. 1991: New Zealand timbers. The complete guide to exotic and indigenous woods. G.P. Publications Ltd.
Davis, M., & Meurk, C. 2001: Protecting and restoring our natural heritage – a practical guide. Department of Conservation.
Evans, B. (compiler) 1983: The revegetation manual. A guide to revegetation using New Zealand native plants. Queen Elizabeth II National Trust.
Hinds, H.V.& Reid, J.S. 1957: Forest trees and timbers of New Zealand. New Zealand Forest Service Bulletin 12.
Ministry of Forestry 1998: Indigenous forestry – sustainable management.
New Zealand Institute of Forestry 2005: NZIF Forestry Handbook. Mike Colley (ed.).
Pardy, G. F.,& Bergin, D. O.; Kimberley, M. O. 1992: Survey of native tree plantations. Forest Research Institute Bulletin No. 175.
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment 2002: Weaving resilience into our working lands: recommendations for the future roles of native plants.
Pollock, K.M. 1986: Plant materials handbook for soil conservation. Volume 3: native plants. Water and Soil Miscellaneous Publication No. 95. Ministry of Work and Development.
Porteus, T. 1993: Native forest restoration. A practical guide for landowners. Queen Elizabeth II National Trust.
Silvester, W.B.,& McGowan, R. (Ed.) 2000: Native Trees for the Future
Wardle, J. 1984: The New Zealand Beeches. Ecology, Utilisation and Management. New Zealand Forest Service, Caxton Press.

Indigenous Forestry Unit
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Rob Miller, PO Box 25022, Christchurch
Email:, website:

Indigenous Forestry Unit
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Stephen Rolls, PO Box 1340, Rotorua

Tane’s Tree Trust
Ian Barton, Chairman, PO Box 1169, Pukekohe
Email:, website:

Dr David Bergin, Scion, Private Bag 3020, Rotorua
Email:, website:


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