Roots of fire : a guide to the plant ecology of Tongariro National Park

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Gabites, I. 1986 Roots of fire : a guide to the plant ecology of Tongariro National Park. Wellington: Tongariro Natural History Society. 112 p.

Abstract: Elevated on a volcanic platform in the centre of the north Island, snow-capped and very much alive, stand the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park. Their blanket of plant cover is frayed and torn along its alpine edges. Around the lower slopes it resembles a patchwork quilt of forest, tussocklands and barren desert. The pattern created is a natural sequel to past disruptive events - volcanic eruption, glaciation, fire and the impact of humans. Some plants such as the tiny herb Ourisia vulcanica, have evolved relatively recently to inhabit this restless landscape. Yet the flora also comprises plants with an ancestry dating back tens of millions of years resilient to nature's moods, and astonishingly diverse in lifestyles. Nor is it merely the individual species which are interesting, but equally important and of greater moment to the scenery is the manner in which they are associated together. L. Cockayne, botanist 1908. In 1887, the paramount chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa, Te Heuheu Tukino (IV), gifted the sacred peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro to the Crown. It was a gesture of trust, to preserve the mana of the mountains in the prevailing climate of land development, and to establish once and for all his ancestral claim to the peaks which was being disputed by neighbouring tribes, New Zealand's first National Park was born - only the fourth in the world. The Governments promise was to protect and preserve the natural environment, National Parks are not intended to be secluded sanctuaries, however; they are for the use and enjoyments of the public. During the early history of the park, this privilege was often abused to the detriment of the native flora. As the park expanded, the inclusion of landscapes scarred by human settlement focused attention on the injured volcanic flora. Some of the wounds will heal naturally. Others requires management and the support of a caring public. In 1984, the Tongariro Natural History Society was formed with the aim of sharing and promoting an awareness of the natural processes affecting the park (auth)

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