In the shadow of the Southern Alps, Central Otago is New Zealand’s driest region. Since humans arrived there around 1350 AD, repeated fires have destroyed its conifer–broadleaf forests. Bracken and tussock grassland replaced the forest. Single trees and small stands of woody vegetation managed to survive in steep gullies and other sheltered locations. They have provided a seed source for patches of regenerating kānuka, kōwhai and Hall’s tōtara forest.
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