Journal Of Insect Conservation

, Volume 8, Issue 2–3, pp 199–208 | Cite as

Conservation of New Zealand’s tussock grassland moth fauna

  • Brian H. Patrick


New Zealand has a relatively rich moth fauna associated with tussock grasslands, reflecting the historic importance of plant communities containing native grasses in the New Zealand landscape. Extensive grassland communities were most common in the eastern and central regions of New Zealand’s South Island where what now remains of these communities is contained within more than 350 Pastoral Leases managed for pastoral farming. Because these various grassland communities are distributed from coastal areas to the limit of vegetation on mountains there has been an uneven human impact. Grasslands at sea-level (including those on sand dunes and alluvial plains) have almost been eliminated while those in montane valleys have until now escaped intensive development. Alpine grasslands, like those of montane areas are now much less woody as a result of both Polynesian and more recent burning. From the late 1970s, based on public concern that continuing development was eliminating the natural landscapes and conservation values of the distinctive tussock grasslands of the South Island, a concerted programme of identification of the broad conservation values of the remaining grassland dominated regions was initiated. Implementation of the recommendations in the resulting published reports relating to priority areas for conservation and the subsequent full-scale review of Pastoral Leases has resulted in the formation of large grassland Conservation Parks and the reservation of a multitude of smaller areas, based on a suite of recreation, landscape and biological values. This important ongoing Tenure Review process has important implications for the conservation of tussock grassland biota including numerous native moths and their habitats.


Conservation Park Lepidoptera Pastoral Lease Tenure Review Threatened species 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Otago MuseumDunedinNew Zealand

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