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    This interactive groups Hub resources into key science and teaching concepts.

    This interactive groups Hub resources into key science and teaching concepts. It provides a selection of pathways that allow for differing approaches and starting points. The aim is to assist educators with their planning of lessons and units of work by providing options that cover multiple science concepts. Click on the labels for links to supporting articles, media, data and student materials.

    To sort and annotate these resources for later reference, log in and use our collections tool.

    Download a PDF file of the transcript here.

    Transcript

    Uniquely New Zealand

    Aotearoa New Zealand is unique in many ways. Geologic isolation has meant that our plants evolved alongside other unique species with no introductions of new species until humans discovered Aotearoa. Humans have only been able to impact/modify our forests for a few centuries. A rough and rugged landscape creating geographic isolation within the country has helped to keep some native ecosystems protected, allowing us a glimpse into our ecological history.

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    Image: Tony Foster, Bushmans Friend

    Ecosystems and interactions

    New Zealand has a wide range of ecosystems, and trees play a major role in many of them. Ecosystems consist of all the living organisms in an area and the interactions between them and the physical environment. Interactions include key concepts such as energy transfer, interacting systems and cycles.

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    Image: Geoff de Lisle

    Classification and identification

    All plants have certain characteristics that aid us with their classification and identification. Observing their physical features (leaves, bark, flowers and seeds) is a long-standing and useful method. Increasingly, DNA analysis is providing us with a deeper understanding of the evolution of plant species and the relationships between them.

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    Image: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    Primary industries

    Māori have known about the medicinal properties of native trees and plants for centuries. As modern science verifies the values of these properties, products from native trees have become global commodities.

    Research is ongoing. Consumers are willing to pay extra for natural products with low environmental impacts. Growing native trees for primary industries appears to be good for local ecosystems and for the economy.

    Exotic trees form a major part of our horticulture exports. New Zealand research plays a significant role in the development of new fruit varieties.

    Native trees

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    Exotic trees

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    Image: cloud9works, 123RF Ltd

    Threats and diseases

    Aotearoa New Zealand’s native trees face a number of threats. Some threats, like deforestation and dieback due to possums, have been around for decades or more. Other threats are relatively new. New Zealand scientists are working to stop the devastation of diseases like kauri dieback and myrtle rust. Climate change and the disruption of weather patterns introduce the possibility of future threats, including forest fires.

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    Image: Wildfire and myrtle rust images courtesy of Scion. Deforestation image, public domain.

    Citizen science

    We are becoming more aware of our native forests and the valuable ecosystem services they provide. As a result, thousands of people regularly volunteer to help with restoration and other citizen science projects.

    The following resources explore the science that underpins restoration.

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    The following resources highlight some of the citizen science projects on the Hub.

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    Image: Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research

    Pedagogy webinars

    The following professional development resources provide pedagogical advice and resources when using trees and/or conservation as a topic of learning or inquiry.

    Image: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato Published 14 March 2019 Size: 770 KB Referencing Hub media