Story: Human effects on the environment

Pollen analysis

Pollen analysis

This diagram shows changes in pollen and spores in Travis Swamp, near Christchurch. It illustrates a pattern of human-induced vegetation change that was common around New Zealand. Before human arrival, the pollen was mainly from forest trees. There was a marked change from forest pollen to raupō (bulrush) and bracken pollen, together with an increase in charcoal, about 1280–1350 AD, when the ancestors of Māori arrived. This indicates that the forests were burned by the first human settlers.

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Landcare Research – Manaaki Whenua
Diagram by Matt McGlone and Janet Wilmshurst

© Copyright image. All rights reserved. Permission from Manaaki Whenua: Landcare Research New Zealand Limited must be obtained before the re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Janet Wilmshurst, 'Human effects on the environment - Pre-European deforestation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 October 2021)

Story by Janet Wilmshurst, published 24 Sep 2007