beech forest

Nelson’s landscape was once almost entirely covered in podocarp and mixed beech-podocarp forest: Totara, matai, rimu, miro, kahikatea, beech species (hard, red, black, silver and mountain), southern rata, Hall’s totara and mountain cedar. In the upper mineral belt areas, tussock, stunted shrubs and distinctive mineral belt specialist plants survived in the harsh conditions.

Pockets of broadleaved forests thrived in sheltered coastal gullies – tawa, titoki, pukatea, nikau, hinau, tree ferns; on sheltered coastal slopes grew ngaio, akeake, akiraho.

Nelson had freshwater wetlands and fertile lowland swamps in its valleys – home to kahikatea, harakeke, cabbage tree and russock sedge. Riparian ecosystems supported black beech, kowhai, flaxes and toetoe, with estuary margins supported estuary tussock and saltmarsh ribbonwood.

This is just a snapshot – in reality the plant communities here were incredibly diverse and supported a rich population of native insects, invertebrates, birds and mammals.

Like much of New Zealand, many of our region’s original rich native habitats have been impacted by centuries of human activity leading to habitat loss and threatened species. The remaining lowland and coastal vegetation stands in Nelson are small pockets surrounded by pasture, exotic forest or urban areas.

What is Council doing?

Nelson Nature is working with the community and other partners to protect and enhance our native plant habitats for future generations. We are working to educate about and protect the fragile plant communities of the mineral belt; to reduce the threat of wilding conifers; to control browsing peststhat prevent natural regeneration of forest, to support landowners restoring native forest; to plant and maintain riparian habitat along our rivers and streams, and to support community action to control invasive plant pests in the Nelson Halo

  • Community group support for weed busting groups
  • Riparian planting
  • Mineral Belt education
  • Browsing pest control
  • Significant Natural Area support
  • Forestry strategy
  • Forest and Bird Wilding Conifer control
  • Parks and reserves activities

How can you get involved?

  • Control pest plants in your garden/property
  • Join or start a weedbusting group in your area
  • Plant natives in your garden
  • Join in community planting days in your area
  • Talk to your neighbours about controlling weeds on your street.

(link to resources)

Key Plant Species

  • Mineral Belt Harebell
  • Mineral Belt Montia
  • Mineral Belt Forget-me-not
  • Mineral Belt Pincushion
  • Boulder Bank Forget me not?
  • Coastal peppercress


Introduced plant pests threatening our native habitats are: