Story: Human effects on the environment

Canterbury Plains

Canterbury Plains

Before human arrival the Canterbury Plains were largely covered by forest, although there were probably a few areas of open grassland. Burning by the earliest Polynesian settlers destroyed nearly all the forest, apart from a few small remnants. When European settlers arrived in the 19th century they burnt the remaining forest stands and developed the land for intensive farming.

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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 September 2021)

Story by Janet Wilmshurst, published 24 Sep 2007