Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand

Coastal Dune Ecosystem Reference Database

A consideration of the "biological spectra of New Zealand" Journal Paper

Allan, H.H.
Journal / Source
Journal of Ecology
A brief account is given of the topography, climate and vegetation of New Zealand. 2. The general spectrum for New Zealand would, in Raunkiaer's scheme, place the New Zealand climate as an H-Ch one, with, however, a strong Ph element. 3. The New Zealand climate, however, is not a uniform one, but composed of several distinct facies. These are revealed by the vegetative cover, but not so clearly by the spectra. 4. Spectra for the western and the eastern portions of South Island are similar, but the climates and vegetative covers are very dissimilar. 5. The spectra for latitudinal distribution show that in the sub-alpine areas of the Southern Alps there is a Ch climate. 6. The naturalized species are shown to be too few in number materially to alter the spectra, but afford some evidence that the country is more adapted to a Th element than is shown by the indigenous species. 7. The spectra for the palaeotropic and the palaeozelandic elements are very similar, though the floristic contents are very different. 8. Historical considerations cannot be ignored in assessing plant climates. 9. Spectra of different association groups are given. 10. The spectra of the island floras do not clearly indicate the great climatic differences. 11. The spectra of the major taxonomic groups are considered, and it is shown that in New Zealand these do not always agree with those of the "normal" spectrum. 12. The status of certain life forms is discussed. Raunkiaer's delimitations of Ch and H are considered inadequate in a treatment of austral floras. 13. The conclusion is drawn that biological spectra, as at present expressed, do not give a more accurate picture of plant climates than would careful summaries of the major formations. 14. In general it is considered: (a) that the life-form classes adopted have not proved perfectly satisfactory, especially the H-Ch group, for a world-wide treatment of plant climates; (b) that many more analyses are needed for the southern hemisphere before proper comparisons of the respective spectra can be made; (c) that in spite of the present defects the spectra reveal much of interest and importance.