Unique and varied
New Zealand’s native flora has evolved in isolation over millions of years. 80% of our trees, ferns and flowering plants are only found in New Zealand.
There are many different areas where plants grow in New Zealand. That means there are many different types of plants. For example:
- kauri and kohekohe forests
- rainforest with rimu, beech, tawa, mataī and rātā
- dunelands with spinifex and pīngao
- alpine and subalpine herb fields
- ferns and flax
- scrub and tussock.
Find out more about New Zealand’s native plants and plant habitats.
Importance of plants
- Plants protect the soil from erosion.
- Plants help to reduce flooding.
- Forests cycle water between the soil and atmosphere to help make rain.
- Trees make oxygen for us to breathe.
- Plants make food for native birds.
- Plants make habitat for a wide variety of animals.
- Trees absorb carbon dioxide so are valuable "carbon sinks" to help counter climate change.
We also like to visit places where our native flora grows. These areas are popular places for tourists too, so are important for our economy.
Some native plants are called pioneer plants. Examples are mānuka, kānuka and tī kōuka/cabbage trees. They grow easily in different places and like starting out on bare ground. These open sites are often where restoration planting is done.
Planting even a few pioneer species can encourage birds to bring in seeds from a wider variety of plants. This saves you growing them yourself.
Bush areas will ideally regenerate naturally from falling seeds, or those carried in by wind or birds. But sometimes nature needs a helping hand by restoration planting. This is especially so if the restoration is happening on land that was farmed. Collecting seeds close to where they are to be planted is called ecosourcing. It is an important part of a restoration project.
Why is ecosourcing important?
Ecosourced plants are suited to local conditions. They are more likely to survive. Local plants will help maintain the area's special characteristics. Ecosourcing will also avoid planting species which are not native to the local area and which could become invasive.
More about ecosourcing, plus ideas for native plant restoration:
- More about ecosourcing
- Tips for restoration planting
- Starting a community nursery
- Local planting guides
- Attract birds to your garden
Trees That Count – Te Rahi o Tāne
Trees That Count is a project to get New Zealanders planting millions of native trees. The project aims to keep a live count of the number of native trees being planted across the country. But it’s also about planting trees that count. These are trees needed for climate change, biodiversity, and restoring our environment. A great reason to start a restoration project!
Why keep count?
Counting the trees means we can see all the great work that thousands of Kiwis do each year. It also helps measure the effect we could have on climate change.
More information on the carbon cycle, climate change, and carbon sequestration:
We can all play a part in the Trees That Count project. Visit the Trees that Count website for more information.
The resources section has information on where to get trees, planting guides, getting started, and monitoring your planting project.
Planting one billion trees
The Government has set a goal to plant one billion trees over 10 years (between 2018 and 2027). Permanent trees and forests that can be harvested will be encouraged. That will mean using a mix of exotic and native tree species on private, public, and Māori-owned land.
One Billion Trees is another way to get involved in ecological restoration. Find out more about the programme using the links below:
- More about 1 Billion Trees - The why, how and what of 1 billion trees from MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries).
- Tracking progress of the One Billion Trees programme - See how progress in going with the programme. Also find out about other tree planting programmes.
- Become a tree planter – Information on how to help with the goal of planting 1 billion trees on the DOC website.