Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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How Can Geomorphology Inform Ecological Restoration? A Synthesis of Geophysical and Biological Assessment to Determine Restoration Priorities

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posted on 2021-11-12, 12:46 authored by Cooper, Leicester

The central concern that this study addresses is how an understanding of geomorphological processes and forms may inform ecological restoration; particularly practical restoration prioritisation. The setting is that of a hill country gully system covered in grazing pasture which historically would have been cloaked in indigenous forest. The study examines theory in conjunction with an application using a case study centred on Whareroa Farm (the restoration site) and Paraparaumu Scenic Reserve (the reference site) on the southern Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington. The impact that the change of land use has had on the soil and geomorphic condition of Whareroa and the influence the changes may have on the sites restoration is investigated. The thesis demonstrates a method of choosing reference sites to be used as templates for rehabilitating the restoration site. Geographical Information Systems and national databases are used and supplemented with site inspection. The reference site chosen, Paraparaumu Scenic Reserve, proved to be a good template for the restoration site particularly given that it is located in the midst of a heavily modified area. On-site inspection considering dendritic pattern and floristic composition confirms the database analysis results. Soil variables (bulk density, porosity, soil texture, pH, Olsen P, Anaerobic Mineralisable N, Total N (AMN), Total C and C:N ratio) are investigated and statistical comparisons made between the sites to quantify changes due to land-use change, i.e. deforestation and subsequent pastoral grazing. Factors investigated that may explain the variation in the soil variables were site (land use), hillslope location, slope aspect, and slope angle. Permutation tests were conducted to investigate the relationships between the independent factors and the SQI (dependent soil variables). Land use and slope angle were most frequent significant explanatory factors of variation, followed by hillslope location whilst slope aspect only influenced soil texture. A number of soil variables at Whareroa were found to be outside the expected range of values for an indigenous forest soil including AMN, Total N, Olsen P, and pH ...


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Physical Geography

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Jackson, Bethanna; Blaschke, Paul