Our Area - The Flora Stream Catchment

The Flora is a stream in the north east of Kahurangi National Park. It forms the core of FOF's project area which is formally known as the Salisbury Ecological Management Unit. It has been identified by DOC as a priority for ecosystem restoration because of its extraordinary biodiversity values. It:

  • Supports at least seven species that occur only here - nowhere else in the world (that's right - nowhere else, only here)
  • Is one of the best places in New Zealand to experience beech forest birdlife
  • Has the two deepest caves in New Zealand, both of international importance
  • Has outstanding marble ecosystems both in the alpine and forest zones
  • Supports 24 different ecosystems including tiny, unique forest wetlands
  • Has at least 88 species categorised as threatened or at risk
  • Is home to many other marvels such as the giant carnivorous snail Powelliphanta 'Lodestone', thought to occur only in the Flora, for which insufficient information is available to assess the risk

But, the sub-fossil remains preserved in the caves are testament to how much we have lost. Many of the remaining specialities persist in precariously small populations. For instance, without active management in the Flora, the emotively named shy foxglove (Ourisia modesta) will become extinct . The main threats are:

  • non-native predators especially mustelids (stoats, weasels and ferrets) and rodents
  • introduced herbivores including hares and deer
  • other non-native species that disrupt ecosystem functioning such as weeds, pigs and wasps
  • habitat destruction eg by trampling in cave systems
  • climate change

Currently we have no tools for effective management of some of these threats. FOF's work is focussed on what we can do, now, and understanding the threats for which we hope tools will be available in future (e.g. alpine zone).

The Flora Hope Spot

So what's a 'Hope Spot'? In 2009, Sylvia Earle described them as "special places around the world where conservation work has ecological, cultural or community importance". Surely, the Flora is such a 'Hope Spot'