On the Waikareiti Track in Te Urewera, the understorey is dominated by crown ferns and pepper trees. These are unpalatable to deer, which selectively browse broadleaf, māhoe and pate. Decades of grazing have in many places changed the composition of forest understoreys, allowing the unpalatable species to dominate. In trials in Urewera forests from the 1960s to the 1980s, deer were fenced off from certain areas – these became home to a greater diversity of species, and of plants with greater stem diameters than those that were unfenced.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Chris Rudge
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