Native Ecosystems

Extract from Backyard Biodiversity in Canterbury by Al Check & Mike Bowie

Populations of plants, animals, insects and birds that interact together are known as communities. These communities, along with the physical environment in which they live are known as ecosystems e.g., rivers, forests, tussock lands, wetlands and even suburban backyards.

The greater the diversity of an ecological system the better its chances of being resilient to impacts such as climate change or invasion by pests. It is the native and endemic species of a region that are most significant. However, it is important to make the distinction between species richness (number of species) and biodiversity (each nation’s unique contribution to the world’s genetic, species and ecosystem variation). Introducing foreign species to New Zealand does not increase biodiversity; indeed biodiversity (New Zealand’s contribution to it) is generally diminished by competition, predation and grazing by introduced species causing contraction of indigenous species’ ranges and genetic diversity, and even extinction.

Attracting native birds, lizards and insects means planting natives that provide year round food source, safe breeding sites and protection from predators. 


Plants Birds Lizards Insects
 Coprosma crassifolia, mingimingi    ◼
 Coprosma propinqua, mingimingi  ◼
 Coprosma robusta, karamu  ◼  
 Cordyline australis, cabbage tree   ◼
 Dacrycarpus dacridioides, kahikatea   ◼    
 Discaria toumatou, matagouri    ◼
 Hebe salicifolia, koromiko  
 Griselinia littoralis, päpäuma, broadleaf   ◼  
 Kunzea ericoides, kanuka   ◼  ◼
 Leptospermum scoparium, manuka
 Melicytus alpinus, porcupine shrub    ◼
 Muehlenbeckia astonii
 Pittosporum eugenioides, lemonwood   ◼  
 Pittosporum tenuifolium, köhühu, black matipo   ◼  
 Phormium tenax harakeke, New Zealand flax   ◼
 Pseudopanax arboreus, five finger   ◼  
 Sophora microphylla, kowhai   ◼